Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Relapsing Fever Overview

What is relapsing fever?
A person with relapsing fever has an infection caused by Borrelia bacteria. The bacteria are transmitted to humans by a tick bite or lice infestation. In the US, relapsing fever occurs in mountainous regions west of the Mississippi river, and in Ohio.

What are the symptoms of relapsing fever?
The most common symptoms of relapsing fever include muscle aches, joint pains, fever, nausea, and headache. Additional symptoms of relapsing fever may include fatigue, rapid pulse, cough, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Symptoms of relapsing fever usually come and go: episodes last for 5 to 7 days.

How does the doctor treat relapsing fever?
Treatment for relapsing fever includes rest, plenty of liquids, antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever.

Continue to Relapsing Fever Incidence

Last Updated: Nov 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Relapsing Fever References
  1. Dworkin MS, Shoemaker PC, Fritz CL, Dowell ME, Anderson DE Jr. The epidemiology of tick-borne relapsing fever in the United States. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2002 Jun;66(6):753-8. [12224586]
  2. Schwan TG, Policastro PF, Miller Z, Thompson RL, Damrow T, Keirans JE. Tick-borne relapsing fever caused by Borrelia hermsii, Montana. Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Sep;9(9):1151-4. [14519254]
  3. Tick-borne relapsing fever in North America. Med Clin North Am. 2002 Mar;86(2):417-33, viii-ix. [11982310]
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