JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
REVIEW
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The Rickettsioses: A Practical Update.

Rickettsia are small, obligately intracellular, gram-negative bacilli. They are distributed among a variety of hematophagous arthropod vectors and cause illness throughout the world. Rickettsioses present as an acute undifferentiated febrile illness and are often accompanied by headache, myalgias, and malaise. Cutaneous manifestations include rash and eschar, which both occur at varying incidence depending on the infecting species. Serology is the mainstay of diagnosis, and the indirect immunofluorescence assay is the test of choice. Reactive antibodies are seldom present during early illness, so testing should be performed on both acute-phase and convalescent-phase sera. Doxycycline is the treatment of choice.

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