Rickettsiosis

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Overview

Rickettsiosis is a group of infections, caused by the Rickettsia group of bacteria. The rickettsial infections are divided into three bio-groups:

  1. Spotted fever
  2. Typhus
  3. Scrub typhus

The characteristic feature of rickettsia is they all multiple within an arthropod and hence are also transmitted via arthropods (arthropod-borne diseases).

Causes

The cause of rickettsial infections is, being bitten by an arthropod carrying the bacteria.

The following is a list of the type of bacteria, and how it is transmitted:

  • Rickettsiae rickettsii – transmitted via Ticks
  • Rickettsiae conorii – transmitted via Ticks
  • Rickettsiae typhi – transmitted via infected flea feces
  • Rickettsiae felis – transmitted via Cat flea bite

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of rickettsial infections are very nonspecific, and vary with the species of bacteria, some of which are listed below:

Diagnosis

The diagnosis should be contemplated in patients bitten by a tick or have been in a tick-infested area and have any of the symptoms typical of Rickettsial infections, even mild ones.

For the diagnosis, clinical symptoms, along with some of the following lab tests can confirm the diagnosis of rickettsiosis:

  • Blood culture
  • Rash biopsy

Treatment

The treatment of rickettsiosis is antibiotics, and it is important to start the patient on the antibiotics as early as possible. The antibiotic of choice for rickettsiosis is Doxycycline.

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