Rickettsioses and the international traveler.Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Nov 15; 39(10):1493-9.CI
The rickettsioses--zoonotic bacterial infections transmitted to humans by arthropods--were for many years considered to be oddities in travel medicine. During the previous 2 decades, however, reports of >450 travel-associated cases have been published worldwide, the vast majority being murine typhus caused by Rickettsia typhi, Mediterranean spotted fever caused by Rickettsia conorii, African tick bite fever caused by Rickettsia africae, and scrub typhus caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi. Most patients present with a benign febrile illness accompanied by headache, myalgia, and cutaneous eruptions, but severe complications and fatalities are occasionally seen. Current microbiological tests include culture, polymerase chain reaction, and serological analysis, of which only the latter method is widely available. Tetracyclines are the drugs of first choice and should be prescribed whenever a case of rickettsiosis is suspected. Preventive measures rely on minimizing the risk of arthropod bites when traveling in areas of endemicity.