Search Encyclopedia:    
List of Topics Print This Page
 

Rickettsial pox


Definition:

Rickettsial pox is a disease spread by a mite. It causes a chickenpox-like rash on the body.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Rickettsial pox is caused by the bacteria, Rickettsia akari. It is commonly found in the United States in New York City and other city areas. It also has been seen in South Africa, Korea, and Russia.

It is spread by the bite of a mite that lives on mice.

Symptoms:

The disease begins at the site of the mite bite as a painless, firm, red lump (nodule). The nodule develops into a fluid-filled blister that bursts and crusts over. This lump may be large -- almost up to an inch wide.

Other symptoms include:

  • Discomfort in bright light (photophobia)
  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle pain (myalgia)
  • Rash that looks like chickenpox
  • Sweating (diaphoresis)

The rash should clear up within a week.

Signs and tests:

The health care provider will do an examination to look for a rash similar to the one in chickenpox.

Tests include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Tests of blood serum (serologic studies)
Treatment:

The goal of treatment is to cure the infection. The basic treatment is with the antibiotic doxycycline. Other antibiotics include chloramphenicol and azithromycin.

Expectations (prognosis):

Full recovery is expected.

Complications:

There are usually no complications if the disorder is treated.

Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if your child has symptoms of rickettsial pox.

Prevention:

Sanitary measures, especially controlling mice and their parasites, will prevent the spread of rickettsial pox.

References:

Raoult D. Rickettsia akari (Rickettsial pox). In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 188.


Review Date: 8/1/2012
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

   View History
  Rickettsial pox

   
   

 

About UPHS   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania