Trench fever, infectious disease characterized by sudden onset with fever; headache; sore muscles, bones, and joints; and outbreaks ofskin lesions on the chest and back. It is transmitted from one person to another by a body louse harbouring the causative organism, the rickettsial bacterium Rochalimaea (formerly Rickettsia) quintana. The age at onset is typically in the mid-teens to the mid-40s. There is no seasonal variation. The annual incidence of B. quintana is 0.23 in 100,000 in Argentina.
Although recovery is usually complete in 1 to 2 mo and mortality is negligible, bacteremia may persist for months after clinical recovery, and prolonged (> 1 mo) doxycycline or macrolide treatment may be needed. Doxycycline 100 mg po bid for 28 days is given plus, if endocarditis is suspected, gentamicin 3 mg/kg/day IV for 2 wk. First, no cure for trench fever was found and the disease continued to be a severe drain on army manpower throughout much of the conflict.