Epidemiology and clinical features of flea-borne rickettsioses

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Murine typhus is a flea-borne rickettsiosis caused by Rickettsia typhi. The disease is endemic to tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. It is likely vastly under-recognized as a cause of febrile illness. Rats serve as the classic reservoir and transmit the bacterium to their fleas –Xenopsylla cheopis. In North America, an alternate cycle of transmission has been identified involving opossums and Ctenocephalides felis. Disease manifests as an undifferentiated febrile illness, similar to a host of other community acquired or vector-borne infectious diseases. Accompanying symptoms often include headache, myalgias, nausea, and vomiting. On physical exam, rash is present in only 50%. When rash is absent, clinicians often neglect to consider a rickettsial illness. Laboratory abnormalities include elevated hepatic transaminases, thrombocytopenia, and hyponatremia. Serology is the mainstay of diagnosis, and doxycycline is the medication of choice. Rickettsia felis, transmitted by Ct. felis, is described as causing a febrile illness similar to murine typhus and other rickettsioses. More recent descriptions identifying the presence of R. felis DNA within febrile and afebrile subjects in sub-Saharan Africa, in those with malaria, and in a variety of environmental samples has raised intriguing questions regarding the pathogenicity of the organism. Other R. felis-like organisms have been detected and isolated from fleas, but the role of these organisms in human disease is currently unknown.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Number of pages1
    JournalRevista Colombiana de Ciencias Pecuarias
    Volume30
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

    Fingerprint

    rickettsial diseases
    Siphonaptera
    Rickettsia felis
    fever
    epidemiology
    murine typhus
    Epidemiology
    Fever
    Endemic Flea-Borne Typhus
    Ctenocephalides
    Ctenocephalides felis
    Exanthema
    Rickettsia typhi
    organisms
    Xenopsylla
    Xenopsylla cheopis
    hyponatremia
    Disease Vectors
    Opossums
    Endemic Diseases

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • veterinary(all)

    Cite this

    Epidemiology and clinical features of flea-borne rickettsioses. / Blanton, Lucas.

    In: Revista Colombiana de Ciencias Pecuarias, Vol. 30, 01.01.2017.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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