There is an outbreak of typhus fever in Cyprus, medical sources told CyprusNewsReport.com.
The cases are not concentrated in one place, making it difficult to isolate the root causes, according to media reports. The strain of typhus endemic to Cyprus is not fatal, but must be treated.
The disease is caused by the Rickettsia bacteria spread only by the bites of infected lice, mites, mosquitoes or fleas. The insects carry the disease after biting infected animals like rats.
People with typhus have severe headache, high fever over 39 degrees Celsius, and intense pain in the joints and muscles of the back and trunk. A dry cough, extreme tiredness and confusion are also symptoms of typhus. A rash may develop on the abdomen and chest, depending on what type of typhus fever the patient has. Rickettsia is a hybrid between a virus and a bacteria and is extremely virulent but not contagious from person to person.
Typhus is diagnosed from the symptoms and confirmed by a blood and urine test.
Treatment is easy and effective; doxycycline antibiotics are prescribed for up to several weeks. Plenty of fluids help.
If left untreated, typhus can be fatal in 10-30% of cases, especially in vulnerable patients like the elderly.
Preventing insect bites from lice, fleas and ticks is key to avoiding typhus fever. Keeping bedding clean and using skin-friendly insecticides sold in pharmacies could help in prevention.
One of the first recorded epidemics of typhus fever in Cyprus was in 1492. Soldiers who were infected by the disease on the island brought it to Europe.
Typhus fever is a completely different disease from Typhoid fever and the two should not be confused with each other.