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Rickettsiae are bacteria that enter the human body through ticks, fleas, lice and mites, and then sometimes cause deadly diseases - the so-called rickettsiosis. So far, rickettsiae only threatened, inter alia, inhabitants of southern European countries, but the warming climate meant that they have already reached Poland. Their carriers are, among others ticks living in Łazienki Królewskie in Warsaw. Check what diseases cause rickettsiae, what are the symptoms of the infection and what is the treatment.

Riketsjeis a group of bacteria that causesrickettsia- acute fever diseases in humans. However, unlike most viruses and bacteria, they do not enter the human or animal body directly, but through other organisms - the so-called vectors for which they are not pathogenic, i.e. they do not cause diseases.

These vectors are most often ticks, although they can also be other arthropods, e.g. mites, lice, fleas. They are a critical link in the transmission of disease to humans and animals and are characterized, at least in part, by a parasitic lifestyle.

  1. Riketsje - where are they?
  2. Rickettsiae - what diseases do they cause?
  3. Rickettsia - how is it infected?
  4. Rickettsiae - symptoms of infection
  5. Riketsje - treatment of ricketsjoz
  6. Rickettsiae - infection prevention

Riketsje - where are they?

Rickettsiae are mainly found in Africa, the Mediterranean and southern Europe. However, the changing climate (higher and higher temperatures) means that they are also spreading to countries with a temperate climate.

Therefore, even in Poland, you can get infected with diseases that, until recently, were only diagnosed in the south of our continent or in the Black Continent.

The presence of spotted fever rickettsiae, not yet detected in our climate zone, has recently been found in Łazienki Królewskie in Warsaw. Research conducted by specialists from the National Institute of Public He alth - National Institute of Hygiene shows that in our country even more than 20 percent. ticks are infected with various rickettsiae.

Experts believe that they could have entered Poland with the birds that came fromdifferent regions of the world.

Rickettsiae - what diseases do they cause?

Rickettsial diseases areriketsjozy . They belong to the group of diseases calledvector-borne diseasesorvector-borne diseases.

Rickettsiae cause diseases belonging to the group of typhoid rash and spotted fever.

Dura rash (typhus)

  • European spotted typhus is caused by the bacteriumRickettsia prowazekii.The disease occurs in Africa and Asia;
  • rat spotted typhus is caused by the bacteriumRickettsia typhi.The disease is diagnosed in areas with low economic and sanitary standards, often in refugee camps, as well as in port cities (large populations of natural reservoirs of bacteria - rats and mice);
  • Brill-Zinsser disease (recurrent rash typhus) - occurs in people who have had typhoid fever or have had contact with patients;

Spotted fever

  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever - caused by the bacteriumRickettsia rickettsii.The disease occurs in the USA and Canada;
  • nodular fever (Mediterranean fever) - caused byRickettsia conorii . It occurs mainly in the Mediterranean countries;
  • Rickettsial pox (follicular rickettsial disease) - caused by the bacteriumRickettsia akari . The disease is widespread around the world, but is most often diagnosed in the USA, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Croatia and Ukraine;

The new rickettsiae include, among others Japanese spotted fever, Flinders island spotted fever or African tick fever (R. africae). In addition, the group of rickettsial infections includes infections caused by microorganisms of the genusCoxiella(causes Q fever),Ehrlichia, Bartonella.

Rickettsia - how is it infected?

The infection occurs mainly during the sucking of blood by an arthropod infected with rickettsiae. It can also occur when an infected vector is swallowed (which can happen in animals) or when a wound is contaminated with vector feces containing contagious material.

  • fleas(derived from rats or mice) - carry endemic typhus (rat spotted typhus). Infection can occur through contact of damaged skin with flea / lice faeces (e.g. by scraping) or by inhalation, i.e. by inhaling air contaminated with excreta and remains of infected fleas;
  • lice(including human and clothing) - transmit European spotted typhus(human infection occurs as a result of scratching the skin, accidental rubbing of lice faeces into a damaged area of ​​the skin, or during a bite), as well as nodular fever (infection occurs as a result of contact with animals, consumption of food and inhalation of air contaminated with excreta and animal remains - carriers of bacteria);
  • mites(parasitizing mainly on rodents - rats, mice) - transmit Q fever (mainly through inhalation of rickettsial dust) and rickettsial pox;
  • ticks- transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever (in this case, infection may occur as a result of contamination of wounds with the remains of infected ticks, as well as contaminated clothes);

In Poland, rickettsiae are transmitted only byticks . It is worth knowing that ticks, which are the most common vectors in Poland, can transmit not only rickettsiae, but also other vector diseases, such as bartonellosis and tularemia (these are diseases that can be transmitted not only by ticks, but also by other organisms). , as well as Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and babesiosis (diseases that are only transmitted by ticks).

Rickettsiae - symptoms of infection

Characteristic for diseases caused by rickettsiae, mainly febrile diseases, are very high fever - up to 40 degrees C. In addition, there is a hemorrhagic, blotchy rash.

Other symptoms also include:

  • muscle aches
  • sometimes vomiting
  • bradycardia
  • redness of the eyeballs
  • conjunctivitis

Blood clots forming in the vessels can lead to gangrene of the extremities.

GOOD TO KNOW: Brucellosis - an animal-borne disease

Riketsje - treatment of ricketsjoz

All rickettsiae share a sensitivity to tetracyclines, which is why this group of antibiotics is the drug of choice for treating rickettsiae.

Rickettsiae - infection prevention

No vaccine has been developed to protect against rickettsiae. Therefore, it is very important in preventing diseases caused by them to exterminate rodents and control the population of ticks and other vectors in the environment.

This will be useful to you

Rickettsiae are seasonal

In Poland, all vector diseases (including rickettsiae) occur seasonally. However, the season for these diseases may be extended if the weather conditions are favorable.

For example, ticks are active from March to November. However, in 2013, due to high temperatures, they were still present inDecember. The occurrence of specific diseases is related to the range of occurrence of given vectors.

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