Typhus
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

almostadoctor app banner for android and iOSalmostadoctor iPhone, iPad and android appsalmostadoctor iOS appalmostadoctor android app

Organism

Rickettsiae = obligate intracellular bacterial parasite

Incubation: 2-23 days

Transmission

Carried by host anthropods

Pathogenesis

Widespread vasculitis and endothelial proliferation may affect any organ

Thrombotic occlusion may lead to gangrene

Clinical features

Typhus clinical features

Rickettsial rash
Rickettsial rash

Types

TypeBacteriaVectorEpidemiology Notes
Epidemic typhusR. prowazekiiLice on humansoften causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters i.e. Caused hundreds of deaths in Nazi concentration camps 

 

this is usually the condition meant when just talking about “typhus”

 

Rash begins in trunkal region, the spreads to peripheries.

Murine / endemic typhusR.typhiFleas on ratsMore prevalent in warm coastal regions most commonly, southern California, Texas and Hawaii. 

Generally causes flu-like symptoms(often confused with flu)

Rocky mountain spotted typhusR.rickettsiiTick-borneEndemic in rocky mountains and SE USARash begins peripherally as macules and then becomes petechial/

Haemorrhagic.

Scrub typhusOrientia tsutsugamushiHarvest mites on humans or rodentsMost common is SE AsiaSigns include sudden deafness and lung signs

Complications

Diagnosis

Should be considered in all travellers form endemic areas with apparent septicaemia but negative blood cultures

  • Rise in antibody titre in paired sera is diagnostic
  • Skin biopsy may be diagnostic in rocky mountain spotted fever.

Treatment

Doxycycline or chloramphenicol

Prevention

Vaccine available

References

Read more about our sources

Related Articles

Dr Tom Leach

Dr Tom Leach MBChB DCH EMCert(ACEM) currently works as a GP Registrar and an Emergency Department CMO in Australia. He is also a Clinical Associate Lecturer at the Australian National University. After graduating from his medical degree at the University of Manchester in 2011, Tom completed his Foundation Training at Bolton Royal Hospital, before moving to Australia in 2013. He started almostadoctor whilst a third year medical student in 2009. Read full bio

Leave a Reply