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    Rickettsial pox

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

    Causes

    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.

    Exams 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.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Full recovery is expected.

    Possible Complications

    There are usually no complications if the disorder is treated.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    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.

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          A Closer Look

            Tests for Rickettsial pox

              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 medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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