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Relapsing fever

An illness that is brought on by infection with spirochaetes (spiral-shaped bacteria). Relapsing fever is passed on to humans by lice or ticks and is marked by a high fever. The condition is not seen in the United Kingdom.

A high fever of up to 40 degrees rapidly develops, with shivering, nausea, vomiting, headache, and muscle pains. The symptoms persist for three to six days, culminating in a crisis with risk of collapse and death. The afflicted person then appears to recover but suffers another attack seven to ten days later. If the fever is tick-borne, there may be a few such relapses, each progressively milder.

The spirochaetes can be viewed in a blood film and they can be eliminated with anti biotic drugs.


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