WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 117-122

Scrub typhus in Bhutan: a synthesis of data from 2009 to 2014

Microbiology Unit, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Thimphu, Bhutan

Correspondence Address:
Tshokey Tshokey
Microbiology Unit, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital, Thimphu
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206248

PMID: 28607239

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Scrub typhus is an acute, febrile illness, caused by the bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi, that affects millions annually in the endemic Asia-Pacific region. In untreated cases, the case-fatality rates range from 6% to 35%. In Bhutan, there was a probable outbreak in Gedu in 2009, which resulted in heightened awareness of the disease. Nevertheless, information on scrub typhus in Bhutan is limited and scattered and the epidemiology has yet to be established. To report the current picture of scrub typhus in Bhutan, this review gathered data from scholarly databases, surveillance reports, the Annual health bulletin, research publications and laboratory test reports from hospitals. The weight of evidence indicates an increasing burden of scrub typhus since the Gedu incident, coupled with increased awareness and testing. Another outbreak in a rural primary school in 2014 resulted in two deaths. More hospitals now have testing facilities and laboratory-confirmed cases have been increasing since 2009, with seasonal trends. This review highlights the need for in-depth surveillance and reporting, increased awareness among health-care workers, and initiation of prevention and control programmes in the country.

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