If you’re wondering, “Do head lice cause typhus?” you’re not alone. This infectious disease is caused by a bacterium known as Rickettsia prowazekii. Infected individuals are susceptible to epidemic typhus, but not all cases of this disease are fatal. In some cases, the bacterium can remain latent for years before causing illness. This type of typhus can also lead to a milder form called Brill-Zinsser disease. It’s more common in adults and can be transmitted from person to person.
Symptoms of epidemic typhus may begin one to two weeks after infection. A high fever, chills, and body aches can develop. The affected individual may also develop a petechial rash on their chest and abdomen. If symptoms continue for more than two weeks, they can progress to vascular collapse. If you suspect that you may have the disease, consult your healthcare provider right away.
People in overcrowded, poor, or dirty areas are at a higher risk for typhus epidemics. This disease can be deadly if left untreated, but if you take the proper steps to prevent it, you’re likely to avoid catching it. Fortunately, treatment for epidemic typhus is available. A course of antibiotics, such as doxycycline, can help. Taking this antibiotic within a few days of symptoms is an effective way to fight the infection. Changing clothes frequently is also important.
The best way to avoid the disease is to wear protective clothing and stay out of an infested area. This means wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and shoes. Also, do not share bedding with others. In addition to wearing protective clothing, you should always be self-examined to check for lice. Using insecticidal powders on clothing and dwellings can also help. The symptoms of Epidemic Typhus are similar to those of the common cold, so you should not assume that your child is suffering from this disease.