2015 | Month:April | Volume:2 | Issue:1 | Page:63-73

Rickettsial diseases in children

In a tropical country like India, fevers are caused by different etiological agents. Rickettsial infections, which have a global distribution is one of the differential diagnosis in such cases and are reported from almost all parts of India. Rickettsial diseases widely vary in severity from self-limited mild illnesses to fulminating life-threatening infections. They are obligate intracellular gram-negative coccobacillary forms that multiply within eukaryotic cells which makes it difficult to culture them on artificial culture medium.

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With globalization there is rapid spread of disease across the continents and therefore, skills for diagnosis and management of the disease  attains global importance.

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Rickettsial diseases can be clinically classified as Spotted Fever group, typhus group, distinctive clinical rickettsiae and emerging rickettsiae. The clinical course will have incubation period, stage non-specific clinical signs and symptoms followed by typical/classical features depending on the type of rickettsiae infecting a person. However the clinical manifestation varies from one geographical area to another area for same species.

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The rickettsial diseases once thought to have been eradicated from India are re-emerging in many parts of our country. Their presence has recently been documented in at least eleven states of our country. Greater clinical awareness, a higher index of suspicion, better use of available diagnostic tools would increase the frequency with which rickettsial diseases are diagnosed.





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