About Typhus

Like malaria and yellow fever, typhus is a tropical disease. In the past, typhus was also popularly known as typhoid lice or typhoid fever. Typhus is one of the bacterial infections transmitted by lice. If left untreated, typhus can lead to death and should therefore be treated by a doctor as soon as possible. If you travel to endangered countries with typhus, you should get vaccinated if necessary.

What is typhus?

According to ETAIZHOU.INFO, typhus is a reportable disease that is transmitted by vectors such as fleas, mites, lice or ticks. The bite of the carrier animal causes an infection with bacteria of the genus Rickettsia, which initially cause itching and discoloration of the bite site.

Then there is the characteristic bloated face with a red color, which gave the typhus its name. Other symptoms include fever, chills, and impaired consciousness if the brain is also affected by the infection. The disease occurs mainly in the subtropical and tropical regions of the world.


Typhus is always preceded by a bite with an infected carrier. Human-to-human transmission is almost impossible. However, the disease can spread quickly if people live close together and live in unsanitary conditions, as is unfortunately still the case today in many tropical and subtropical countries.

As a result, parasites jump quickly from one host to another and infect a person anew each time. As a result of the parasite’s bite, the rickettsiae enter the human bloodstream and can continue to live there. As with any infection, it is not necessarily the bacteria themselves that are harmful to humans, but primarily their excretion products that act as toxins in the human body.

A second infection with the pathogen will be much more harmless, however, since the patient then already has an active immunization. The symptoms are less significant and he suffers significantly less from the disease than when he was first infected.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

In spotted fever, the person concerned usually suffers from the usual symptoms of the flu, although there is also reddening of the skin. The redness occurs in different parts of the body in the form of spots and can therefore also lead to reduced aesthetics for the patient.

Many sufferers feel uncomfortable with the symptoms and also suffer from reduced self-confidence. Typhus also leads to severe headaches and pain in the limbs. Patients have a high fever and, in severe cases, impaired consciousness. The rashes on the skin can also be affected by itching, which can further reduce the quality of life.

The pain makes the patients feel tired and exhausted and therefore no longer actively participate in everyday life. In most cases, typhus can be treated well, so that there are no particular complications and no permanent damage to the person concerned. Life expectancy is also not negatively affected. In some cases, the disease may cause nausea and vomiting, although these symptoms are very rare.


The incubation time for typhus after infection with rickettsiae is approximately 10-14 days. Only then do the first symptoms of the disease appear and are expressed, for example, by itching at the bite site. Furthermore, this swells and there is a blue-black discoloration, which the affected patient will notice immediately.

In the further course of the disease, typical flu symptoms appear, which are expressed, among other things, by high fever, headache and body aches and accompanying chills. Typhus fever is characterized by a swollen, red face and impaired consciousness, provided that the rickettsiae have also attacked the brain. Most types of typhus can be fatal without prompt treatment, but the disease is curable with the right medication.


The symptoms and complications of typhus are relatively similar to common fever. The patient suffers from an elevated temperature as well as from body aches and headaches. As a rule, so-called chills occur shortly before the infection and the patient becomes cold. It is not uncommon for typhus to be accompanied by a rash.

Because of the fever, the affected person is often no longer able to think clearly or to perform physical activities. Everyday life is restricted for the duration of the illness. This is especially the case when the fever reaches a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius and is therefore life-threatening. The disease often lasts for several weeks.

The ears are also affected and can cause temporary deafness or noise in the ear. In the worst case, the infection spreads to the brain and causes encephalitis there which, if left untreated, can lead to death. With ordinary treatment with the help of antibiotics, there are no further complications. As a rule, the patient is immune to the virus after the illness and does not fall ill again.

When should you go to the doctor?

Since typhus if left untreated can, in the worst case, lead to the death of those affected, patients are always dependent on treatment. A doctor should be seen if the person is in the tropics and suffers from severe headache and fever. There is aching limbs and chills. Symptoms of typhus also include disorders of consciousness, so that some people lose consciousness and injure themselves in the process.

Even if you have a severe rash or reddened skin, it is always advisable to consult a doctor. The symptoms of this disease usually only appear after two weeks, so that they can only show up in your home country. In addition to the usual symptoms of the flu, the reddening of the skin is an important symptom of this disease.

In the case of typhus, you can usually go to a general practitioner or go to the hospital directly. The treatment is carried out with the help of antibiotics and in most cases leads to quick success. As a rule, no further special measures are necessary.

Treatment & Therapy

Treatment of typhus initially involves admitting the patient to hospital, who is best kept in the vicinity of the doctors for observation and treatment. Antibiotics of the tetracycline class have been found to be particularly effective in combating rickettsiae. The standard active ingredient against typhus today is the tetracycline doxycycline. The patient can take it orally unless otherwise directed by the doctor.

However, in some cases of typhus, the patient may be so lethargic that it is difficult to give the drug orally – then it is given intravenously. The main symptomatic treatment is high fever, as it could cause permanent damage to the body or, in the worst case, kill the patient. The symptomatic treatment is always decided on a case-by-case basis and individually adjusted for each patient in order to achieve the best possible effect and to facilitate the patient’s recovery.

Outlook & forecast

If the typhus fever is treated early, the prospects for a quick recovery are usually good. The individual symptoms subside after a few days to weeks, and long-term effects are usually not to be expected. However, if the disease is left untreated, serious complications can arise. There is a risk that the heart muscle or the brain will become inflamed, resulting in life-threatening symptoms.

An untreated fever can also have long-term effects such as numbness or damage to the gastrointestinal tract. If there is no therapy, the prognosis is less positive. Sick, physically weakened or old people can develop into a life-threatening condition. The sick person then falls into a coma, which can have long-term consequences. Before this, there are usually symptoms of failure of the organs and other complications, which can already be a considerable burden for the person concerned.

If no treatment is given by then at the latest, the spotted fever takes a severe course, as a result of which the patient’s state of health deteriorates further and further. In principle, however, the prognosis for typhus is relatively positive, provided that treatment with antibiotics is carried out early and the person concerned is sufficiently spared.


In most cases, there are no direct follow-up measures available to those affected by typhus. The options for follow-up care are also very much based on the exact type and severity of this disease, so that a general prediction is usually not possible. However, the early detection and treatment of this disease is in the foreground in all species in order to prevent further complications.

Self-healing cannot occur. Treatment of this disease is carried out with the help of antibiotics. The person concerned is dependent on the regular and correct intake of antibiotics and should also follow the doctor’s instructions. The antibiotics should not be taken together with alcohol, otherwise their effect will be weakened.

Even after the symptoms have subsided successfully, they should be taken, if this has been prescribed by the doctor. If you have typhus, you should definitely rest and take care of your body. Care by your own family or friends is also very useful. Correct and early treatment of typhus does not result in a reduced life expectancy for the patient.

You can do that yourself

Typhus is a reportable bacterial infectious disease that is caused by very small rod bacteria of the genus Rickettsia. The bacteria are transmitted by arthropods such as lice and ticks after being bitten or bitten during their blood meal. Although it is a disease of the tropics and subtropics, the pathogen has already penetrated as far as southern Europe in Mediterranean regions and the Black Sea. In the United States, the disease is known as Rocky Mountains Spotted Fever.

Self-help measures that directly combat the disease do not exist. However, the incubation period of ten to 14 days, which typically elapses from the sting or bite to the onset of the disease, should be used for diagnostic purposes. If a bite caused an infection with rickettsiae or other pathogens, a kind of ring with a blue-black discoloration forms around the puncture site.

If the disease breaks out, self-help measures consist of ensuring sufficient fluid intake during the high fever that accompanies the disease, in parallel with antibiotic treatment for the infectious disease, and possibly lowering the fever a little by using cold calf compresses or other suitable home remedies. Typical features of typhus are a crimson, swollen face and flu-like symptoms such as headache and body aches. If left untreated, the disease can take a severe course with a poor prognosis.