Spotted typhus

Spotted typhus is an infectious disease. In medicine, two forms of the disease are distinguished – endemic and epidemic.
Spotted typhus of the endemic type is widespread in the regions of the world with a warm climate.

This form of the disease is caused by Rickettsia species Rickettsia mooseri.

Outbreaks of the endemic type usually break out in the summer months. The disease spreads mainly in rural areas and is considered a zoonosis, as it is transmitted by the bite of fleas that inhabit the fur of rats. This type of typhus is milder than the epidemic form.

Epidemic spotted typhus occurs in the winter months and during hostilities, it is more correct to say when the population density exceeds social norms and minimum sanitary and hygienic conditions are not provided conditions.

In other words, the cases of pediculosis, that is, lice, are increasing.

The cause of this type of spotted typhus is Rickettsia prowazekii, which is stored in a dried state, in the feces of lice, on bedding and underwear.

But very quickly this rickettsia dies from the effect on it of various disinfecting solutions, such as phenol, lysol and formalin. The infection of the epidemic form of the disease is transmitted through the body louse, but sometimes also through the head louse.

Infection occurs during the scratching of the bite site, during which the person rubs the louse’s excrement, which also contains rickettsiae, into the already damaged skin.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of typhus include – a sharp and strong increase in body temperature, usually up to about 40 degrees Celsius, a febrile state, manifestations of intoxication of the body, slightly spotted a rash with a pink tint all over the body.

With this disease, hyperemia develops on the face, neck, upper chest and conjunctiva.

A person suffering from this form of typhus may complain of pain all over the body, persistent headache, insomnia and frequent dizziness. With this disease, one loses appetite.

3-4 days after the onset of the disease, it is possible to detect an increase in the size of the patient’s spleen and liver with the help of palpation.

A euphoric state of the patient can also be observed, excitation of his nervous system, delirium is also possible, and visual, auditory and olfactory disturbances can occur.

The important and characteristic symptoms of spotted typhus include the manifestations that can be observed already on the 4th-5th day from the onset of the disease – Chiari-Avcin symptom – the appearance of red spots in the folds of the conjunctiva and the mucous membranes of the mouth and tongue.

On the 6th day, a roseola-petechial rash appears. The main areas of localization of the rash are the inner thigh surface, the elbows and the side of the torso. By the tenth day, the rash disappears and healing begins.

Treatment of spotted typhus

The first thing that needs to be done to treat a patient with this disease is to hospitalize him.

After that, the patient is prescribed an individual course of treatment with antibiotics – mainly those from the tetracycline group, but in cases of individual intolerance to these preparations, drugs from the chloramphenicol group are prescribed.


The prevention of this disease consists in all methods of combating pediculosis, and the main method for this remains the observance of sanitary and hygienic rules.

Also, vaccination of the population and deratization or rat control, i.e. prevention of the endemic form of the disease, can also be referred to the methods of preventing typhus.

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