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Typhus

Prevention Of Typhus

Prevention of typhus outbreaks takes a two-pronged approach. Eliminating the carriers and reservoirs of Rickettsia is an important step in prevention. Spraying with insecticides, rodent control measures, and treating soil with insect-repellent chemicals have all been used successfully to prevent typhus outbreaks. In scrub typhus islands, cutting down vegetation has been shown to lessen the incidence of scrub typhus. The second preventative prong is protecting the body from insect bites. Wearing heavy clothing when venturing into potentially insect-laden areas is one way to protect against insect bites; applying insect repellent to the skin is another. Proper personal hygiene, such as frequent bathing and changing of clothes, will eliminate human body lice and thus prevent epidemic typhus. A typhus vaccine is also available; however, this vaccine only lessens the severity and shortens the course of the disease, and does not protect against infection.

Resources

Books

Cormican, M. G., and M. A. Pfaller. "Molecular Pathology of Infectious Diseases." In Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 20th ed. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 2001.

Hardy, Anne. The Epidemic Streets: Infectious Diseases and the Rise of Preventive Medicine, 1956-1900. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Joklik, Wolfgang, et al. Zinsser Microbiology. 20th ed. Norwalk, CT: Appleton and Lange, 1992.


Periodicals

Dumler, Stephen J., et al. "Clinical and Laboratory Features of Murine Typhus in South Texas, 1980 through 1987." The Journal of the American Medical Association 266 (September 11, 1991): 1365-70.

Green, Cornelia R., and Ira Gleiberman. "Brill-Zinsser: Still With Us." The Journal of the American Medical Association 264 (October 10, 1990): 1811-12.


Kathleen Scogna

KEY TERMS

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Brill-Zinsser disease

—A relapse of typhus symptoms experienced by persons who have had epidemic typhus. Symptoms are usually milder than those experienced with the first bout of typhus.

Endemic typhus

—A relatively mild form of typhus that is transmitted by the Oriental rat flea.

Epidemic typhus

—A form of typhus that is transmitted by the human body louse and can be fatal if not promptly treated.

Scrub typhus

—A form of typhus that is transmitted by chiggers and can be fatal if not promptly treated.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Two-envelope paradox to VenusTyphus - Characteristics Of Typhus, Epidemic Typhus, Endemic Typhus, Scrub Typhus, Prevention Of Typhus