Scrub typhus season has begun in May on Taiwan. As of June 5, 2016, Taiwan has had 117 cases of scrub typhus, including 27 cases in Taitung county, 24 cases in Hualien county, and 20 cases in Penghu county. Taiwan’s scrub typhus reaches its peak in June and July, and a second epidemic usually occurs in September-October.
Taiwan’s first death due to scrub typhus this year is that of a “foreign female” who had visited Lanyu Island and was bitten by the chigger mite of the parasite Orientia tsutsugamushi of Rickettsiaceae. This “foreign female” began having fever at the end of April, 2016, was hospitalized at the beginning of May, and died on May 9, 2016. The incubation period of scrub typhus is 9 to 12 days, and without timely treatment, its death rate is 60%. With early treatment, its death rate is less than 5%.
When walking through scrubs and scrubby areas, wear long sleeves and long pants. Afterwards, remove all the clothing and wash them thoroughly to get rid of any mites that may have attached themselves onto the clothing.
Scrub typhus is also called bush typhus, tsutsugamushi, and tsutsugamushi fever or scrub typhus fever.