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Analysis of 262 Children with Scrub Typhus Infection: A Single-Center Experience

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  • 1 Department of Pediatrics, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India;
  • 2 Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India

ABSTRACT

Scrub typhus, a vector-borne rickettsiosis, is the leading treatable cause of non-malarial febrile illness in Asia. The myriad of typical and atypical features poses a clinical conundrum. We aimed to study the clinical and laboratory profile of children with scrub typhus infection diagnosed by IgM ELISA. Data of children < 12 years presenting with undifferentiated fever to the pediatric services of a tertiary teaching institute between January 2012 and December 2018 were retrieved. Children with seropositive IgM ELISA (InBios International Kit, Seattle, WA) for scrub typhus were enrolled in the study. Clinical features, laboratory investigations, treatment received, and the outcome recorded were obtained. Objective evidence of organ dysfunction was taken as severe scrub typhus. In total, 262 children were diagnosed with scrub typhus. The mean age was 5 years, with male preponderance (65%). And, 13 children presented during infancy. Fever was universal, and generalized lymphadenopathy (93.5%) and hepatomegaly (70%) were the common clinical signs. Eschar was identified in 31%, with greater predilection for groin and axilla. Thrombocytopenia was striking in one-third of children. Also, 25 children (9.5%) had severe scrub typhus and 18 required intensive care stay. Elevated aspartate aminotransferase enzyme levels was a predictor of severity ([OR 3.9], P value 0.005) by multivariate analysis. Lymphadenopathy was found significantly associated with eschar (P < 0.005). No mortality was recorded. This 6-year study underscores the varied spectrum of pediatric scrub typhus infection. Zero mortality in our cohort signifies the excellent outcome with judicious first-line antibiotics.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Peter Prasanth Kumar Kommu, Department of Pediatrics, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Ganapathichettikulam Village No. 20, Kalapet, Puducherry 605014, India. E-mail: praspeter@gmail.com

Disclosure: This is to acknowledge that no financial interest or benefit has arisen from the direct applications of the research. The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC-RC/16/147). Waiver of parental consent was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee as this was a retrospective chart review.

Authors’ addresses: Rashmi Kispotta, Ananthanarayanan Kasinathan, and Peter Prasanth Kumar Kommu, Department of Pediatrics, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India, E-mails: drrashmikullu@gmail.com, drrashmikullu@gmail.com, and praspeter@gmail.com. Manikandan Mani, Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India, E-mail: manikandanmsu@gmail.com.

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