Epidemic typhus is caused by Rickettsia prowazekii. Symptoms are prolonged high fever, intractable headache, and a maculopapular rash. Epidemic typhus is a rickettsial disease. Humans are the natural reservoir for R. prowazekii, which is prevalent worldwide and transmitted by body lice when louse feces are scratched or rubbed into bite or other wounds.The body lice become infected with Rickettsia prowazekii bacteria when they feed on the blood of an infected person. If you catch these infected body lice (for example, by using a louse-infested blanket), their infected faeces will be deposited on your skin as they feed on your blood.
In the Singapore about 146 cases of Typhus fever are reported in each year. Almost 8% of the Singapore population is suffering with Typhus fever, a disease caused by bacteria called Rickettsia typhi or bacteria called Rickettsia felis.Antibiotics are generally only used for treatment of symptomatic typhus infections. Antibiotics should not routinely be used as prophylaxis but may be occasionally recommended for use by people at high risk of exposure, such as those working in endemic areas (eg soldiers at risk of scrub typhus may be prescribed doxycycline prophylaxis).