Navigate Up

Full Library - A-Z Index


Print This Page

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.

The bacteria are 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 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

The rash usually clears 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 by taking antibiotics.

Outlook (Prognosis)

A full recovery is expected when antibiotics are taken as instructed.

Possible Complications

There are usually no complications if the infection is treated.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you or 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: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Mandell GL, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2014:chap 189.

Reller ME, Dumler JS. Spotted fever and transitional group rickettsioses. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, et al., eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 220.

Updated: 8/30/2014

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com