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Epidemic and murine typhus 

Epidemic and murine typhus
Epidemic and murine typhus

Emmanouil Angelakis

and Didier Raoult

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date: 24 January 2022

Epidemic typhus is now a rare disease, but previously it was worldwide in distribution. Typically epidemic typhus occurred during instances in which humans were forced to live in crowded, cold and unhygienic conditions (eg aboard ships, in jails, and during military operations). Until recently man was considered to be the only reservoir for R.prowazekii, but in 1975 a new sylvatic cycle involving the flying squirrel and its ectoparasites was discovered in the eastern United States.

Murine typhys occurs throughout the world. Its epidemiology is primarily linked to the distribution of rats and the rat flea, Xenopsylla cheopis. However, recently both a new reservoir (opossums in southern California) and a new potential vector (the cat flea) have been discovered.

Control or avoidance of the vectors are the cornerstones of strategies to prevent morbidity and mortality.

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