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Typhus is an infection transmitted by fleas, lice or mites. It has been reported in various countries all over the globe and can be serious, but most can fully recovery if promptly treated.

How is it transmitted?

One can acquire typhus if bit by an infected mite, lice or flea. These are often present on small animals such as rats, mice, cats and even squirrels. Even humans carry them on their skin, clothes or hair.

What are the signs?

The indications of typhus generally include the following:

  • Headache
  • Fever, usually around 40 degrees C
    Darkened, spotty rash on the chest that spreads to the entire body.
  • Dry cough
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Back pain
  • Darkened, spotty rash on the chest that spreads to the entire body

Preventive measures

It is important to note that there is no available vaccine to prevent the condition, but the risk for being infected can be lowered with the following:

  • Apply an insect repellant spray and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Regularly bathe and take a shower
  • Change clothes regularly

A doctor must be consulted if travelling to a region where there have been reported cases of typhus.

Management of typhus

If an individual is suspected with typhus, the doctor might require a blood test or skin biopsy.

Generally, antibiotics are given to manage the infection. The drug is usually started before the test results are available since it might take up to a week.

In most cases, the individual starts to feel better within 48 hours once treatment has been started. It is vital to complete the prescribed course of antibiotics even if he/she already feels better. In severe cases of typhus, treatment at a healthcare facility might be required.

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