Rickettsioses in Children – A Review.
Rickettsial diseases, caused by a variety of obligate intracellular, Gram-negative bacteria from the genera Rickettsia, Orientia, Ehrlichia, Neorickettsia, Neoehrlichia, and Anaplasma are considered some of the most covert emerging and re-emerging diseases. Scrub typhus, murine flea-borne typhus and Indian tick typhus are commonly being reported and during the last decade. Scrub typhus (ST) has emerged as a serious public health problem in India. Rickettsial infections are generally incapacitating and difficult to diagnose; untreated cases have case fatality rates as high as 30-45% with multiple organ dysfunction, if the specific treatment is delayed. Early clinical suspicion, timely diagnosis followed by institution of specific antimicrobial therapy shortens the course of the disease, lowers the risk of complications and reduces morbidity and mortality due to rickettsial diseases. Still there is large gap in our knowledge of Rickettsioses and the vast variability and non-specific presentation of these have often made it difficult to diagnose clinically. The present review describes the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnostic modalities and treatment of Scrub typhus which is a vastly underdiagnosed entity and clinicians should suspect and test for the disease more often.