Diseases Diseases

What is rickettsia?

Published at 02/03/2012 01:40:28


To start with, the word Rickettsia originated from the name of Howard Taylor Ricketts, a doctor in the state of Chicago and who was one of the very first individuals to observe this organism and determine its nature. Since then, researches have stated that rickettsia is a minute infectious agent usually smaller than most germs but larger than most viruses. Many classifications in fact put it midway between a virus and a bacterium. This rickettsia is visible with an ordinary microscope but cannot pass through a bacterial filter due to its size. It can cause rickettsial infections which are known to be life threatening especially in today’s world. Though it can be treated, knowing about it may be worth it. Perhaps you can stay away from any predisposing factors and avoid contracting any of its related infections. Below is a comprehensive cover of rickettsia that you might consider looking at if you want to be free from rickettsial infections.

About rickettsia and Its Related Infections

Similar to viruses, rickettsia multiplies in the presence of live cell. Usually, it is transferred from animals to people by mites, ticks, lice or even fleas. Most of its related conditions in human begins have been identified with these creatures only during the last 50 years. The diseases are life threatening and have been seen to kill many people especially in Africa.

Murine typhus, a form of typhus fever is an example of an acute condition brought about by rickettsia. If you want to know whether you have contracted this infection, then you begin to feel a sudden fever that will last for several weeks, maybe 2 or 3. You will also have some kind of rush around your trunk. This infection has since been proven to be transmitted by rats which are the chief mammalian carriers of rickettsia. This organism is transmitted from one rat to another by fleas in a dirty environment.

When given the opportunity, the flea is capable of biting you. If that happens, it may deposit its excretions on your skin. This is the period you will start to scratch yourself hence forcing the excretions which are infected with rickettsia to your skin and then symptoms begin streaming in one after the other. You will start having chills, muscular aching, fever headache, loss of appetite and cough.

If you have ever heard of Rocky Mountain spotted fever then that is the same disease brought about by rickettsia. This condition is very common especially in most states of US. It becomes more prominent during warm seasons since this is the period that ticks are active. These ticks with the rickettsia organism are found in wood, the lone star, dogs, and rabbits. This condition present with symptoms such as; sensitivity of the eyes to pressure and light, vomiting, nausea, constipation and nose bleeding.


Fortunately, there exists treatment for rickettsia related infections. There are antibiotic drugs such as choromycein and Aureomycin that are effective in controlling the symptoms. But why wait to reach the treatment stage? Prevention is better than cure, maintain high levels of hygiene to prevent rats, mice, fleas among other organisms that have been stated above and which carry rickettsia to human beings hence causing infections. It is also good to treat your pets like dogs to ensure they are free from ticks.

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