Spotted fever – Brazil

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October 23, 2021 – A (second) case of spotted fever has been reported in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The first case was reported on Friday, October 22, 2021. The individuals infected were sergeants of a police operations course. Both cases were reported dead not long after admission and treatment at a medical facility.

According to the source, the suspected origin of infection was during a “forest stage of instruction”. It is likely during this time that the individual was exposed to a tick (bitten) carrying the bacteria, Rickettsia, that caused the infection. The symptoms presented were not mentioned in this source. In Brazil, there are two species of Rickettsia bacteria: Rickettia rickettsii and Rickettsia sp (both species survive the lifespan of an infected tick, which is about 18 to 36 months). It is not known at this time which bacteria was responsible for the outbreak.

Other police officers who participated in the same training as the two cases are currently under medical surveillance. Samples from the cases have been collected for analysis. The training course has been suspended until further notice.A spotted fever is a tick-borne disease which presents on the skin. They are all caused by bacteria of the genus Rickettsia. Types of spotted fevers include:

Mediterranean spotted fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Queensland tick typhus
Helvetica spotted fever

When bitten by ticks, it is important to remove them with fine tweezers at the base where they attach the skin. Once removed, the skin should be disinfected thoroughly. Always keep removed ticks in a closed container for a couple of weeks, until sure you did not catch an infection.

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