Shimla, Sep 27 (IANS) Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday assured the state government of all possible help in managing the endemic disease scrub typhus in Himachal Pradesh that has claimed 20 lives and afflicted over 750 people so far.

He said the union ministry is willing to send an expert committee to the state on its request.

"The ministry is very closely monitoring the situation and if requested shall provide all logistical and technical support to the state to strengthen their capacity to effectively manage the situation," an official statement quoting Nadda said.

He said this has been conveyed to state authorities.

While the Health Minister pressed on the need to start rigorous awareness campaigns regarding the preventive steps to be taken by the people at the community level, he also directed the officials of his ministry to be on alert and gear up for activities to control scrub typhus, it added.

The disease is caused by the bite of an infected mite found in areas with heavy scrub vegetation.

The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, muscle pain, cough and gastroenteritis -- inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines.