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Typhus
Typhus is a collective term for diseases caused by the rickettsia bacteria, and are transmitted by louse or flea- bites; and have symptoms of a high fever followed by a rash.

The 4 main types are:

1. Epidemic louse-borne Typhus
2. Epidemic tick-borne Typhus
3. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
4. Scrub Typhus

No vaccination is available.
Diagnosis is confirmed with blood tests and treatment is with a tetracycline antibiotic (which will treat all types of typhus except some resistant strains found in Thailand, which are susceptible to ciprofloxacin).

 

Epidemic Louse-Borne Typhus


Occurs in Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Mexico. Epidemics occur in poverty and war stricken areas. The rickettsia is transmitted by body lice, which live in clothing and feed on blood. Their feces enter wounds or are inhaled. This disease is not transmitted person to person.

Symptoms of epidemic louse-borne typhus include: high fever, headache, dry cough, muscle pain, and nausea with vomiting. All symptoms occur within 2 weeks of being bitten.

Symptoms of epidemic louse-borne typhus include: high fever, headache, dry cough, muscle pain, and nausea with vomiting. All symptoms occur within 2 weeks of being bitten. Afterwards a rash appears on the torso and then spreads to the rest of the body (the rash of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever starts in the extremities first). This disease can cause multiple organ disease and death.

 

 

Epidemic Flea-Borne Typhus

Occurs worldwide and is common in ports and central areas.

The disease is carried by rats and transmitted to people by flea bites (in the U.S the disease is found in dogs, cats, and opossums).

Symptoms occur gradually over 2 weeks and are similar though milder than epidemic typhus (see above).

Full recovery is usual even without treatment and fatalities are rare.

 

Scrub Typhus
Occurs in south east Asia, Australia, India, and the Western Pacific Rim.

It is transmitted by mite bites.

Travelers are at risk if hiking through cleared forests or jungle. Darkened scabs where the mites have bitten may be visible.

After 5-10 days people develop a sudden fever, headache, dry cough and swollen lymph nodes.

A rash appears on the torso and limbs. Permanent neurological damage can occur. In both scrub typhus and epidemic typhus disease can sometime return even after treatment.

 

 

General Typhus links

Louse-Borne Typhus

Flea-Borne Typhus

Scrub Typhus

Dermnetz  http://dermnetnz.org/viral/rickettsia.html

 

Third World Traveler  http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Disease/typhus.html

 

CDC http://www.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/rickettsial.htm