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Relapsing Fever - Symptoms & Treatment


Relapsing Fever is a multisystem disease caused by the spirochetes Borrelia. There are two major forms. Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) is transmitted by the Ornithodoros tick and occurs in Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Asia, and certain areas in the western US and Canada. Louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF), which is transmitted by body lice. It is prevalent in the developing world (Asia, Africa, and Central and South America). The disease occurs primarily in the western U.S. The pathogen is transmitted by soft ticks, which feed mainly at night and can transmit spirochetes within minutes. Relapsing fever is a disease that is spread by 2 distinct vector families, namely the human body louse ( Pediculus humanus ) and soft-bodied ticks ( Ornithodoros ), and is caused by various species of Borrelia. The human body louse spreads Borrelia recurrentis infection. Tick-borne relapsing fever can be caused by a least 15 different Borrelia species. Louse-borne relapsing fever is caused by Borrelia recurrentis.

Borrelia turicatae, Borrelia hermsii, Borrelia parkeri, and Borrelia duttonii may cause the tick-borne relapsing fever.After several cycles of fever, some people may develop dramatic central nervous system signs such as seizures , stupor , and coma. The Borrelia organism may also invade heart and liver tissues, causing inflammation of the heart muscle ( myocarditis ) and liver ( hepatitis ). Widespread bleeding and pneumonia are other complications. LBRF is mostly a disease of the developing world and it often occurs in epidemics. It is currently prevalent in Ethiopia and Sudan. Famine, war, and the movements and congregations of refugees often result in epidemics of LBRF. The largest epidemics of LBRF during this century occurred during the two world wars. Millions of people were infected in these epidemics, with at least one million deaths.

Causes of Relapsing Fever

Common causes of Relapsing Fever

  • Bacteria(Borrelia).
  • Victim crushes the louse.
  • Body fluid.

Symptoms of Relapsing Fever

Common Symptoms of Relapsing Fever

  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Seizures.
  • Stupor. Meningitis.
  • Focal neurologic deficits.
  • Seizures.

Treatment of Relapsing Fever

Common Treatment of Relapsing Fever

  • In louse-borne relapsing fever, the treatment consists of a single dose of erythromycin, doxycycline, chloramphenicol, or penicillin G. Doxycycline is the preferred drug, except in children and pregnant women, where erythromycin or penicillin is preferred.
  • Treatment of tick-borne relapsing fever is the same as with louse-borne fever, except the treatment course is approximately 7 days.
  • One should expect that antibiotic( Tetracycline, Doxycycline, Erythromycin ) treatment would precipitate a JHR. This reaction consists of fever, chills, and hypotension and usually occurs within the first 2 hours of initiating antibiotics.
  • Avoiding rodents can prevent tick-borne relapsing fever. This includes use of appropriate clothing and tick repellents when entering tick-infested areas.
  • Treatment consists of a single dose of erythromycin, doxycycline, chloramphenicol, or penicillin G. Doxycycline is the preferred drug, except in children and pregnant women, where erythromycin or penicillin is preferred.

 

 

 

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