Mediterranean Tick Fever

(Boutonneuse Fever, Mediterranean spotted fever, India tick typhus) (Israeli tick typhus, Marseilles fever, Kenya tick typhus)

Mediterranean tick fever is an illness characterized by rapid onset of fever, chills, headache and a rash that is caused by the bacteria rickettsia conorii and spread through the bite of brown dog ticks.

Where does it occur?

It is primarily seen in Africa, India and European & Middle Eastern countries surrounding the Mediterranean, Caspian and Black seas.

How is it transmitted?

It is transmitted through the bite of infected dog ticks. The animal reservoirs are dogs, rats, mice, squirrels etc.

What is the risk for travelers?

The risk for travelers is generally low unless engaged in prolonged outdoor activities or contact with dogs.

How soon after exposure will one develop symptoms?

Symptoms usually occur within a week of exposure.

What are the signs and symptoms?

At the site of the tick bite a small lesion develops that is called an eschar; it is black in the center and surrounded by red inflamed skin and is about 5 mm in diameter. Subsequently in a few days there is sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, body aches and muscle pains. A rash that is red and pimple like develops all over the body but characteristically does involve the palms and soles.

Are there any lab tests to diagnose the illness?

Blood antibody tests (IgM/IgG) and PCR test are available to diagnose the illness.

Is there any treatment?

Antibiotic called Tetracycline is effective.

Is the infected person contagious?

There is no person to person transmission.

What preventive measures can be taken?

Avoid tick bites by following insect safety measures and avoiding contact with dogs in regions afflicted by these bacteria.

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