Epidemic typhus

A severe acute disease with prolonged high fever up to 40° C (104° F), intractable headache, and a pink-to-red raised rash. The cause is a microorganism called Rickettsia prowazekii. It is found worldwide and is transmitted by lice. The lice become infected on typhus patients and transmit illness to other people. The mortality increases with age and over half of untreated persons age 50 or more die. Also called European, classic, or louse-borne typhus and jail fever.

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epidemic typhus n TYPHUS (a)

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the classic, louse-borne form of typhus, caused by Rickettsia prowazekii, which is transmitted from person to person by the human body louse, Pediculus humanus humanus, although the organism can also grow in the head louse, P. humanus capitis. Characteristics include abrupt onset; chills, fever, and malaise; headache that progresses in severity; backache and myalgia; a skin eruption that spreads from the trunk to cover much of the body; and central nervous system symptoms from dullness to stupor and sometimes coma and death. Recrudescences occur (see Brill-Zinsser disease, under disease). Outbreaks usually occur in crowded or unsanitary environments, so that it has been called by names such as camp fever, prison fever, and war fever.

Epidemic typhus. Nodule in the brain.


Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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