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Related to louse-borne typhus: typhus fever, Brill's disease
louse-borne typhusClassic typhus, epidemic, typhus, European typhus, jail fever
A severe acute disease with prolonged high fever up to 40ºC/104º F, intractable headache and a pink-to-red raised rash, caused by Rickettsia prowazekii Prognosis Mortality ↑ with age; over half of untreated persons > age 50 die
typhus(ti'fus) [Gr. typhos, fever]
The disease may be mild, marked only by a flat rash that spreads out from the trunk and petechiae or by flulike symptoms. In more severe cases, patients have fever, skin necrosis, and gangrene on the tips of the fingers, toes, earlobes, and penis as a result of thrombus formation in blood vessels; focal inflammation and thrombosis in organs throughout the body, including the brain, produce organ-specific signs. Rickettsial infections are diagnosed by identifying the organism through immunofluorescent staining.
Typhus is treated with doxycycline for 7 days.
Bronchopneumonia occurs more frequently than lobar pneumonia. Hypostatic congestion of the lungs, nephritis, and parotid abscess also may occur.
The prognosis is variable. Mortality may be quite high in epidemic typhus and almost nonexistent in murine typhus. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are life-saving if given early enough.