Disease plantThis very rare but extremely dangerous infection is transmitted by clothes lice and causes days of severe fever. All information about the disease. You can find the symptoms here.
What you need to know about spotted fever
Spotted fever is a bacterial infectious disease transmitted to humans by lice. The disease is transmitted mainly by clothes lice. Clothes lice and head lice are both blood-sucking parasites that specialize in humans, but are anatomically and biologically distinct from each other. Scientists have not yet conclusively determined whether clothes lice and head lice each belong to a separate species or are subspecies of one and the same species.
Clothes lice transmit bacteria of the genus Rickettsia to humans when biting them. These rickettsiae sneak into the body hidden in living cells and then multiply intracellularly. It takes up to about 10 to 14 days for the disease to break out after the lice bite. The classic signs of spotted fever are then severe fever, skin rashes, skin bleeding and nerve damage.
Notification requirement: Rare but dangerous!
Spotted fever is very rare in Germany. Since the infection via clothes lice is highly contagious, however, there is official obligation to report spotted fever. If the disease has been detected in affected individuals, treating physicians must report the cases to the appropriate authorities to potentially stop local outbreaks and epidemics. The last time there were epidemics of spotted fever in Europe was during World War II. However, the disease is not only transmitted by lice, certain types of ticks can also spread spotted fever. In 2019, for example, there was one case of spotted fever in Germany that was transmitted by the Hyalomma tick, which actually originates from tropical regions. It is not yet certain whether there are enough Hyalomma ticks in Germany for the animals to establish a domestic population.
These are the symptoms of spotted fever
1. Flu-like symptoms
In spotted fever, flu-like symptoms occur in the early stages of infection. As the bacteria increasingly assault the immune system, classic defense reactions similar to a cold or flu set in. This includes in particular
– severe headache – aching limbs – general feeling of illness – swollen lymph nodes – burning, aching muscles
2. One of the characteristic features of spotted fever is sharply increasing. Then continuously high remaining fever. During the first days of illness, the fever jumps up to 41 °C. Sometimes up to ten days pass, during which the fever remains at this high level. The fever disappears after up to five days. This fever period is enormously exhausting for the body. Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of strength are typical. Temperatures above 40 °C are already very dangerous for the organism. From 41.5 °C there is a danger to life. The fact that the body temperature can shoot up so much during typhus and can remain at a threatening level for a long time is what makes the disease so extraordinarily dangerous.
No matter, what the reason of the high fever is: With strong fever adults should visit absolutely a physician or a lady doctor. High fever is also dangerous in children, of course, but children also fever faster and more often.
3. Skin rash and nerve disorders
Also typical of spotted fever are the eponymous spot-like rashes that affected individuals develop. Usually the spots become visible from the fourth day of illness on the trunk. As the infection progresses, the rashes spread to the arms and legs. The spots do not usually spread to the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet or the face. The spot-like rashes are not uniformly colored and shaped. Some spots appear red and inflammatory, others are purple and sometimes disappear again quickly. The spots are caused by small hemorrhages of the capillaries in the skin.
The infection with rickettsiae can bring secondary or concomitant diseases with it. It can come to pneumonia or meningitis. Due to the sometimes very high fever, which lasts for days, it can also lead to clouding of consciousness and nervous disorders during typhus. Speech disorders, trembling hands or restlessness are then possible.