CDC warns of scrub typhus as Taiwanese prepare for tomb sweeping

03/28/2014 10:58 AM
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Taipei, March 28 (CNA) As people across Taiwan get ready for the annual tidying up of their ancestors' graves next week, they should take extra precautions to prevent infection of scrub typhus from mites hiding in vegetation, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warned.

The chance of infection skyrockets around the Qingming Festival, more commonly known as Tomb Sweeping Day, when people walk through grassy areas to reach ancestral graves, opening themselves to attack by chiggers, the main carriers of scrub typhus.

Risks can be lowered by preparing appropriate clothing and insect repellent before heading out, and changing clothes and showering immediately after returning from the gravesites, the CDC advised.

Scrub typhus infections are reported throughout the year in Taiwan and become more common in April and May before peaking in July, the CDC said.

Infections occur throughout Taiwan, but the mountainous counties of Hualien and Taitung and the offshore islands of Kinmen and Penghu are classified as high-risk areas according to the CDC.

Common symptoms of the parasitic disease include a high fever, headaches, excessive sweating and swelling.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)ENDITEM/WH

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