Symptoms and Complications of Rickettsia


Rickettsia infections are connected infections such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Typhus, Ehrichiosis, and Q fever. These infections are caused by an uncommon type of bacteria that can only survive inside the cells of another organism.

Symptoms of Rickettsia

Symptoms vary to some extent depending on the type of rickettsia disease; however, similar to other viral or bacterial diseases most patients have common symptoms such as fever, headache, and body ache.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)&Ehrichiosis

  • The symptoms of RMSF are fever, headache, rash and body ache.RMSF headaches are typically persistent and intense.
  • RMSF onset can be gradual or abrupt, beginning almost 2-8 days after a bite from an infected tick. 40% of the patients can be unaware about the Tick bite because the Tick bite is generally painless. Moreover, the Tick bite may be unnoticed or can be easily forgotten.
  • RMSFdevelops rash after 2-3 days consisting of small red spots on wrists and ankles that become widespread. Moreover, 20% cases ofRMSFdo not develop rashes.

The incubation period of RMSF is 5-10 days.


  • Typhusonset is abrupt after 1-2 weeks after louse bite.
  • Moreover, Typhus is accompanied by Fever and Headache
  • Typhus rash develops from trunk to extremities after 4-7 days of illness. Rashes develop into red spots all over the body.
  • Typhus is typically milder and shorter.

The incubation period of Typhus is 1-2 weeks.

Q Fever

  • Q fever accompanies abrupt onset, fever, headache, muscle pain, cough and chest pain.
  • Generally, Q fever does not develop rashes.

The incubation period of Q fever ranges from 2-6 weeks.

Complications of Rickettsia

Untreated and severe cases of any of these diseases can be incurable. Complications that can occur in some rickettsia diseases include,

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can cause hearing loss and nerve damage
  • Typhus can lead to kidney problems and central nervous system problems
  • Ehrichiosis can damage several organs, including kidneys, lungs, and brain
  • Q fever can cause hepatitis
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