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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-10

Rickettsial infections: Past and present perspectives

Department of Internal Medicine, MVJ Medical College and Research Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vasantha Kamath
Dandupaya, 30th KM Milestone, National Highway 4, Kolathur PO, Hoskote, Bangalore - 562 114, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AJIM.AJIM_22_19

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Rickettsial infections are reported from various parts of India. But despite the surging number of cases, these diseases are often under-diagnosed. Rickettsial diseases have re-emerged as some of the most covert infections of the present time. These diseases are generally incapacitating and notoriously difficult to diagnose. The greatest challenge lies in overcoming the difficult diagnostic dilemma posed by these infections early in their courses- when antibiotic therapy is most effective. Untreated cases have a fatality of up to 30% but when promptly and properly diagnosed, it is often easily treated. Clinical manifestations combined with a thorough history (travel, epidemiological environment, and place of residence) and knowledge of the distribution of rickettsial agents and their vectors may help clinicians to correctly diagnose a rickettsiosis. Weil Felix, although not sensitive, aids in initiating antibiotics when interpreted in the correct clinical context. Antibiotic treatment with doxycycline (including for children) must be started whenever a possible rickettsiosis is suspected, taking into consideration pregnant women and allergic patients. The factors that predispose to rickettsial infections are widely prevalent in this country hence the physicians and paediatricians need to include rickettsial infections in their differential diagnosis of febrile thrombocytopaenia or an acute febrile illness.

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