Shillong, Dec 1 (IANS): At least five people have died of of scrub typhus, a disease caused by the bite of an infected mite, in Meghalaya in the past three weeks, an official said here on Thursday. However, a private-run hospital here put the toll at 12.
"Over 40 people were tested positive for the disease and admitted in hospitals and five people died of it," Meghalaya Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) officer RR Lanong told IANS. "We have verified and found out that five people died - four in H. Gordon Roberts Hospital and one in Nazareth Hospital," the medical official said.
Smit, Lad Mawreng, Tyrsad, Mawkyrwat, Moodymmai, Sohkymphor, Sutnga, Mawlein, Umsning and Ummat villages -- all in eastern Meghalaya -- were the most affected, the official said.
Though treatment is available at health centres, due to ignorance, the disease has turned fatal, Lanong said. To avoid this, the health department has launched a vigorous campaign to create awareness among the rural masses.
Medical superintendent of H. Gordon Roberts Hospital, David Tariang, said 12 people have died in his hospital alone due to scrub typhus and 25 are undergoing treatment.
The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, muscle pain, cough and gastroenteritis -- inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines.