• Monday May 25,2020

typhus fever

Typhus fever, like malaria and yellow fever, is one of the tropical diseases. In the vernacular, typhus fever was formerly known as lice typhus or famine typhus. Typhus fever is one of the bacterial infections caused by lice. If left untreated, typhus fever can lead to death and should therefore be treated as soon as possible. If you travel to endangered countries with typhus, you should get vaccinated if necessary.

What is typhus?

In the case of typhus, the person affected usually suffers from the usual symptoms of flu, although it also leads to redness on the skin.
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The typhus is a notifiable disease transmitted by vectors such as fleas, mites, lice or ticks. It comes through the bite of the carrier animal to an infection with bacteria of the genus Rickettsia, which initially provide itching and discoloration of the bite site.

Then it comes to the characteristic bloated face with red color, which gave the typhus its name. Other symptoms include fever, chills and impaired consciousness when the brain is also affected by the infection. The disease occurs mainly in the subtropical and tropical areas of the earth.


The typhus is always preceded by the bite with an infected carrier animal. The transmission from person to person is almost impossible. However, the disease can spread rapidly when people live close together and live in unhygienic conditions, as is unfortunately still the case in many tropical and subtropical countries today.

As a result, parasites jump quickly from one host to another and infect each time anew people. By biting the parasite Rickettsia enter the human bloodstream and can live there. As with any infection, it is not necessarily the bacteria themselves that are harmful to humans, but especially their excretory products that act as toxins in the human body.

A second infection with the pathogen, however, will be much more harmless, since the patient then already has an active immunization. The symptoms are less significant and he suffers less from the disease than at the first infection.

Symptoms, complaints & signs

In the case of typhus, the person affected usually suffers from the usual symptoms of flu, although it also leads to redness on the skin. The redness occurs in different parts of the body in the form of spots and can therefore also lead to a reduced aesthetics in the patient.

Many sufferers feel uncomfortable with the symptoms and also suffer from reduced self-esteem. Likewise, the typhus fever leads to severe headache and body aches. Patients suffer from a high fever and in serious cases, disorders of consciousness. The rashes on the skin can also be affected by itching, which can further limit the quality of life.

Due to the pain, the patients feel tired and beaten and therefore no longer actively participate in everyday life. In most cases, the typhus fever can be treated well, so there are no special complications and no lasting damage to those affected. Life expectancy is not negatively affected. In some cases, the disease may cause nausea and vomiting, but these conditions are very rare.


The incubation period with typhus fever after rickettsial infection is approximately 10-14 days. Only then do the first symptoms of illness appear and, for example, manifest themselves by itching at the bite site. Furthermore, this swells and it comes to a blue-black discoloration, which will immediately notice the affected patient.

As the disease progresses, typical symptoms of influenza appear, including high fever, headache and pain in the limbs and accompanying chills. Typhus fever is characterized by a swollen, red face and dysregulation, as long as the rickettsiae have also affected the brain. Without rapid treatment, most forms of typhus can be fatal, but with the right medication, the disease can be cured.


The symptoms and complications of typhus fever are quite similar to ordinary fever. The patient suffers from an elevated temperature as well as body aches and headaches. Usually it comes just before the infection to the so-called chills and the patient is cold. Not infrequently, the typhus is accompanied by a rash.

Due to the fever, the person concerned is often no longer able to think clearly or perform physical activities. Everyday life is restricted for the time of the illness. This is especially the case when the fever reaches a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius and thus becomes life-threatening. Often, the disease lasts for several weeks.

The ears are also affected and can lead to temporary numbness or noises in the ear. In the worst case, the infection spreads to the brain, where it causes encephalitis, which can lead to death if left untreated. There is no further complication with usual treatment with antibiotics. As a rule, the patient is immune to the virus after the illness and does not get sick once more.

When should you go to the doctor?

Since typhus fever, untreated, can in the worst case lead to the death of the person affected, patients are always dependent on treatment. A doctor should be consulted if the person is in the tropics and has severe headaches and fever. It causes body aches and chills. The symptoms of typhus include disorders of consciousness, so that some sufferers also lose consciousness and injure themselves.

Even with a strong rash or redness of the skin, it is always advisable to see a doctor. The symptoms of this disease usually occur after two weeks, so they can show up only in the home country. In addition to the usual symptoms of influenza, the redness of the skin in particular is an important symptom of this disease.

In typhus fever, a general practitioner or the hospital can usually be visited. The treatment is carried out with the help of antibiotics and leads in most cases to a quick success. Other special measures are usually not necessary.

Treatment & Therapy

Treating typhus initially involves in-patient admission, which is best kept close to the doctors for observation and treatment. Antibiotics of the tetracycline class have proven to be particularly effective in the control of rickettsia. The standard typhus ingredient today is tetracycline doxycycline. The patient can take it orally, unless otherwise prescribed by the doctor.

However, in some cases of typhus, the patient may be so lethargic that it is difficult to administer the agent orally to him - then it will be administered intravenously. Above all, the high fever is treated symptomatically, because it could cause lasting damage in the body or at worst could kill the patient. The symptomatic treatment is always decided on a case-by-case basis and adjusted individually for each patient in order to achieve the best possible effect and to make the patient's recovery easier.

Outlook & Forecast

With early treatment of typhus, the chances for a speedy recovery are usually good. The individual symptoms disappear after a few days to weeks, and long-term effects are usually not expected. However, if left untreated, serious complications can develop. So there is a risk that the heart muscle or the brain become infected, resulting in life-threatening symptoms.

An untreated fever disease can also have long-term consequences such as deafness or damage to the gastrointestinal tract. In the absence of therapy, the prognosis is therefore less positive. In the case of sick, physically weakened or old people, a life-threatening condition can possibly occur. The patient then falls into a coma, which can result in long-term consequences. Previously, there are usually deficits of the organs and other complications that can already be a significant burden for the person concerned.

If no treatment takes place at the latest, the typhus takes a severe course, as a result of which the state of health of the person affected continues to worsen. Basically, the prognosis in a typhus, however, is relatively positive, as far as early treatment with antibiotics takes place and the affected person is sufficiently gentle.


In most cases, the affected person with typhus is no direct measures of follow-up available. The possibilities of follow-up also depend very much on the exact nature and severity of the disease, so that a general prediction is generally not possible. However, the early detection and treatment of this disease is at the forefront of all species to prevent further complications.

A self-healing can not occur. The treatment of this disease takes place with the help of antibiotics. The patient is dependent on the regular and correct intake of antibiotics and should follow the instructions of the doctor. The antibiotics should not be taken together with alcohol, as their effect is otherwise weakened.

They should also be taken after successful resolution of the symptoms, if so prescribed by the doctor. The affected person should definitely rest in typhus fever and spare his body. It is also very useful to look after your own family or friends. With a correct and early treatment of the typhus it does not come to a reduced life expectancy of the patient.

You can do that yourself

Typhus fever is a notifiable bacterial infectious disease caused by very small rodent bacteria of the genus Rickettsia. The bacteria are transmitted by arthropods such as lice and ticks after the sting or bite in their blood meal. Although it is a disease of the tropics and subtropics, but the virus could penetrate as far as southern Europe in Mediterranean regions and the Black Sea. In the US, the disease is known as rocky mountain spotted fever (Rocky Mountains Spotted Fever).

Self-help measures that directly combat the disease are nonexistent. However, the incubation period of ten to 14 days, which typically passes from the sting or bite to the onset of the disease, should be used for diagnostic purposes. If a sting caused an infection with rickettsiae or other pathogens, a kind of ring with blue-black discoloration forms around the puncture site.

If the disease breaks out, self-help measures will be taken to ensure adequate fluid intake during the high fever that accompanies the disease and to reduce the fever by cold calf rolls or other appropriate home remedies in parallel with the antibiotic treatment of the infectious disease. Typical features of typhus are a crimson swollen face and flu-like symptoms such as headache and body aches. If left untreated, the disease can be severe, with poor prognosis.

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