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    Public advised to take precautions against chigger bites when cleaning graves and doing outdoor activities during Tomb Sweeping Festival to ward off scrub typhus
    Publication Date:2018-04-03 Data Sources:Centers for Disease Control, R.O.C.(Taiwan)

    (Press Releases)

    As this year’s Tomb Sweeping Festival is a 5-day weekend, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) would like to remind the public to take precautions against scrub typhus when doing outdoor activities such as cleaning graves, camping, hiking, and visiting chigger-infested areas such as bush areas that facilitate exposure to chiggers and increase the risk of acquiring scrub typhus. To prevent chigger bites, the public is advised to wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, apply officially approved insect repellents to exposed skin, and change clothes and take a shower immediately after a visit to the bush area.

    According to Taiwan CDC’s surveillance data, as of March 25, 2018, a total of 67 scrub typhus cases have been confirmed in Taiwan this year, including 20 cases in Taitung County and 15 cases in Hualien County. According to Taiwan CDC’s surveillance data, scrub typhus cases are reported in Taiwan throughout the year, which usually begin to increase during April and May and peak during June and July. During 2015 and 2017, Penghu County, Taitung County, Hualien County, and Kinmen County report more cases.

    Scrub typhus is a disease that is transmitted by chiggers. Chiggers like to stay at the tips of weeds, waiting for an opportunity to attach to passing humans or animals. Therefore, the chance of becoming infected with scrub typhus is much higher when people walk through bush areas. After being bitten by the chigger, a painless eschar will form over the bite, and the incubation period usually ranges from 9 to 12 days. Subsequently, symptoms such as persistent fever, headache, sweating and swelling or inflammation of the lymph gland will begin to develop. After having had fever for about 1 week, a dark red papule will appear in the trunk, spread to extremities, and disappear after several days.

    If symptoms such as persistent fever, headache and eschar develop, please seek medical attention immediately and inform the doctor of your travel and exposure history to serve as a reference for clinical diagnosis. For more information, please visit the Taiwan CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov.tw or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Consultation Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922).

    • Last modified at 2018-03-27
    • Data from Division of Planning and Coordination