Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by the rickettsia Rickettsia rickettsii. This submicroscopic bacterium is transmitted by ticks of the genus Dermacentor . The disease is characterized by a maculopapular skin rash (a “spotted rash”) occurring on the appendages and then spreading to the trunk. The fever is very high, and headaches accompany the disease. Antibiotics such as tetracycline are effective for therapy. Epidemic typhus. Epidemic typhus is caused by Rickettsia prowazekii , a rickettsia transmitted by the body louse of the genus Pediculus . The organism invades the bloodstream and causes a maculopapular skin rash beginning on the body trunk and spreading to the appendages. The fever is extremely high, and the death rate is significant. Tetracycline antibiotics are effective for therapy, and elimination of lice is essential to stem the spread of the epidemic.
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