Outbreak of scrub typhus in Pondicherry.J Assoc Physicians India 2010; 58:24-8JA
To describe the diverse clinical and laboratory manifestations of scrub typhus diagnosed in Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Pondicherry.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
All cases of febrile illness diagnosed as scrub typhus over a period of 2 years were analysed. Diagnosis was based on the presence of the eschar and/or positive Weil Felix test with a titre of > 1:80.
Fifty cases of scrub typhus were seen over a period of 2 years (April 2006 and April 2008). Common symptoms were high grade fever of 7-14 days duration, nausea, vomiting, headache, myalgia, cough and breathlessness. Eschar was seen in 23 cases (46%) and the common sites were axilla, breast and groin. Weil Felix test was positive in 39 cases (78%). Liver enzymes were elevated in nearly all cases (95.9%). Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome (MODS) was present in one third of our patients (17 out of 50, 34%). Hypotension (8 patients, 16%), renal impairment (6 patients, 12%), ARDS (4 patients, 8%) and meningitis (7 patients, 14%) were some of the important complications. There was a dramatic response to doxycycline in nearly all the patients.
Scrub typhus has emerged as an important cause of febrile illness in Pondicherry. Empirical treatment with doxycycline is justified in endemic areas.