Clinical Profile and Predictors of Outcome for Pediatric Scrub Typhus at a Tertiary Care Hospital

Background: Scrub typhus is an important cause of acute undifferentiated fever. It is currently one of the most covert re-emerging infections and the most common rickettsial infection caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi. Untreated cases can have mortality rates as high as 30-35%. Objectives: This study was done to study demographical data, clinical profile, and predictors of outcome for scrub typhus in children who were admitted to our institution, a tertiary care hospital in south India. Methods: In this retrospective study, children diagnosed with scrub typhus based on IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), between January 2012 and June 2019 were included. Detailed history, clinical examination findings, laboratory profile, complications, and outcome were analyzed. Results: A total of 120 patients were identified, of whom 84 (42 males- and 42 females) cases satisfied the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. About 80 (95%) cases had a complete recovery, whereas 4 patients (5%) died of multiple complications. Hypotension, hypoxia, altered sensorium, hypoalbuminemia, elevated liver enzymes, azotemia, and deranged coagulation on admission were considered as poor predictors of outcome for scrub typhus. Conclusions: Pediatric scrub typhus is a common infection and should be suspected in cases with fever for more than 5 days and non-specific signs and symptoms. Early detection and timely management lead to a higher recovery rate. Hypotension, hypoxia, azotemia, altered sensorium, and bleeding manifestations on admission were associated with unfavorable outcomes.