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Typhus – Symptoms and Treatment for Typhus

Typhus is any of many similar diseases that are caused by Rickettsiae. This name is derived from Greek word “typhos” which means hazy or smoky, describing the state of mind of people afflicted with typhus. Rickettsia is the main cause of this health issue and it cannot survive for a long period outside the living cells. This must not be confused with typhoid fever.

Many diseases include typhus word in their description. Following are some of them:

Condition

Bacterium

 

Arthropod

Notes

Australian tick typhus or Queensland tick typhus  Rickettsia australis Ticks

 –

Scrub typhus Orientia tsutsugamushi Rodents or harvest mites on the humans This condition is closely related with spotted fever group. This is not classified in typhus group.
Endemic typhus or Murine typhus  Rickettsia typhi Fleas on the rats

 

Epidemic typhus Rickettsia prowazekii Lice on the humans This is the condition which is usually associated with typhus.

Symptoms of Typhus:
Following are some of the symptoms of typhus:

Epidemic typhus:
Stupor
Severe muscle pain
Severe headaches
Sensitivity to light
Rashes
Low blood pressure
Joint pain
High fever
Delirium
Bad cough
Chills

Murine typhus:
Vomiting
Nausea
Joint pain
Headaches
Dry cough and hacking
Extremely high fever
Dull red rash which appears initially on the middle of the body and later spreads
Back pain
Abdominal pain

Treatment for Typhus:
Firstly, diagnosis is essential for determining the antibodies response to bacteria and virus. Usually, blood count test is done for finding out the level of blood cells and platelets. In typhus, one may have low platelet levels and anemia. Also, blood tests are carried out for determining the level of liver enzymes, sodium, albumin and typhus antibodies for ensuring proper diagnosis of the health condition. However, the diagnosis is time consuming. Thus, many a time doctors begin the preliminary treatment depending on typhus symptoms.

Chloramphenicol and tetracycline are the antibiotics used for treating typhus. The epidemic type of typhus may need administration of oxygen and intravenous fluids. Generally, elderly people who are more than 60 years are at high risk of being badly afflicted by this health issue, particularly epidemic typhus. Epidemic typhus is the severe form of the typhus.

Sometimes, typhus may result in some adverse complications such as damage to the kidney and central nervous system and pneumonia. Proper communal and personal hygiene and avoiding exposure to parasitic insects such as fleas and lice is the best way to prevent this disease.

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