Tick Typhus

Tick Typhus is transmitted to humans by ixodid ticks. An eschar scar develops at the bite site and the rickettsia (small bacteria like organism) incubates for about 1 week.A fever develops with a maculopapular rash (which may be very small).

This rash and eschar are very typical of tick typhus but often this illness is confused with malaria or a traveler's diarrhea infection.

A headache is also noted. Usually symptoms are mild but kidney, liver and neurological damage can occur. Doxycycline is an effective treatment and doxycycline when given daily for the prevention of malaria will prevent typhus.

Infective ticks infest domestic and wild animals particularly dogs in cities.

Walking in brush is risky.

Preventative measures for ticks include wearing the trouser cuffs inside the socks, DEET use, sleeping on elevated cots and checking each other for ticks.

Epidemic typhus is more severe but rarer and is caused by human lice. It is seen in poverty stricken areas (Rwanda, Uganda, and Ethiopia). Travelers are unlikely to experience epidemic typhus even if backpacking.

Tick Typhus links

cdc submenus/sub_typhus.htm