Typhus

February 2017


Definition


Typhus is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia. These bacteria are carried by rodents, such as mice and rats, and are transmitted to humans through mites, lice or fleas. This transmission is primarily in unhealthy environments where proper hygiene is absent. There are several types of typhus. Among them, there is louse-borne typhus, or European typhus, due to Rickettsia bacteria prowazeki, transmitted by lice. Murine typhus, tropical typhus, flourishes mainly in tropical countries and is transmitted by lice and is cause by the bacterium Rickettsia mooseri. Symptoms are similar between different strands.

Symptoms


Symptoms of typhus appear after an incubation period of two weeks and are as follows:
  • a high fever;
  • rash convering most of the body;
  • headache;
  • chills;
  • widespread pain;
  • stupor, i.e. immobility and muteness;
  • delirium;
  • coughing;
  • nausea and vomiting

Regarding murine typhus, the incubation time is usually shorter. It lasts less than a week and the above symptoms are mostly present, but much less in intensity.
Note that further outbreaks of symptoms are possible: this is called resurgent typhus.

Diagnosis


To make the diagnosis of typhus, blood samples are taken. They can show the presence of specific molecules like rickettsial bacteria.

Treatment


The essential treatment of typhus is with antibiotics belonging to the group of tetracyclines. In more serious cases, they will be associated with corticosteroids.

Prevention


Prevention of typhus is through the fight against lice and fleas and respecting the best hygiene and cleanliness rules.

Related

Original article published by . Translated by Jeff. Latest update on July 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM by Jeff.
This document, titled "Typhus," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (health.ccm.net).