Author Topic: Deadly Bacteria Found on Island Off Chile  (Read 258 times)

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Deadly Bacteria Found on Island Off Chile
« on: September 09, 2016, 08:38:24 AM »

Scrub typhus, a deadly disease common in Southeast Asia and spread by microscopic biting mites known as chiggers, has now taken hold in a part of South America and may have become endemic there, scientists said Wednesday.

The tropical disease, which kills at least 140,000 people a year in the Asia-Pacific region, has been confirmed in a cluster of cases on a large island off Chile, 12,000 kilometers from its usual haunts on the other side of the Pacific.

Scrub typhus has been known of for years, and the bacteria that cause it were first identified in Japan in 1930.

Chiggers transmit the bacteria, Orientia tsutsugamushi, and they spread through the lymphatic fluid. Those infected find the illness can begin quite suddenly, with shaking chills, fever, severe headache, infection of the mucus membrane in the eyes, and lymph node swelling.

Until 2006, scrub typhus was thought to be limited to an area called the "tsutsugamushi triangle," from Pakistan in the west to far eastern Russia in the east to northern Australia in the south.