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Rickettsial infection overview

Published: July 17, 2009. Updated: August 09, 2009

Rickettsia are small intracellular bacteria that inhabit arthropods.

There are five types of rickettsial diseases:

  • Typhus.
  • Scrub typhus.
  • Rocky mountain spotted fever.
  • Trench fever.
  • Q fever.

The main pathology is vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels).


The clinical picture includes the following symptoms:

  • Orbital pain & headache & meningeo-encephalitis.
  • Rash (measles like).
  • Renal failure.
  • Other organs: hepato-splenomegaly, lymph node enlargement, pneumonia.

Diagnosed by Weil-Felix test.

Treatment: Tetracycline.

All other types similar to above.


Caused by the organism Coxiella burnetti, no vector is needed.

Clinical picture: Petechial rash, atypical pneumonia, hepatitis.

Treatment: Tetracycline.

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