What Is Typhus Fever?

Q:
What is typhus fever?

A:
Typhus fever is a disease caused by infection with one or more rickettsial bacteria.

Fleas, mites (chiggers), lice, or ticks transmit it when they bite you. Fleas, mites, lice, and ticks are types of invertebrate animals known as arthropods. When arthropods carrying around rickettsial bacteria bite someone, they transmit the bacteria that causes typhus. Scratching the bite further opens the skin and allows the bacteria greater access to the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria continue to reproduce and grow.

There are three different types of typhus:

  • epidemic (louse-borne) typhus
  • endemic (murine) typhus
  • scrub typhus

Typhus outbreaks usually only occur in developing countries or in regions of poverty, poor sanitation, and close human contact. Typhus is generally not a problem in the United States, but you may become infected while traveling abroad.

Untreated typhus can lead to serious complications, and it’s potentially fatal. It’s important to see your doctor if you suspect that you may have typhus.

Keyword: typhus fever

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.