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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Scrub Typhus in Chile (Chiloe Island)

12 Sep 2016

On the 8 September 2016 The New England Journal of Medicine reported three autochthonous cases of scrub typhus acquired on ChiloƩ Island in southern Chile; this suggests that this pathogen may be endemic in this part of South America.

Advice for Travellers

Scrub typhus is an infection caused by a rickettsia-like bacteria. The infection is transmitted by infected larval trombiculid mites and rats or mice may act as reservoirs. Humans may become infected in areas where the mites and rodents are present, most often areas of low-lying scrub brush or vegetation.

Travellers should be aware of the risk of scrub typhus, particularly those visiting rural areas who should avoid close contact with this type of vegetation. The skin should be protected with clothing (ideally permethrin treated) and DEET insect repellent on exposed skin.

For further advice on insect bite avoidance see the following link: Insect Bite Avoidance