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Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever

A bacterial infection caused by Borrelia bacteria, transmitted to humans through the bite of infected “soft ticks”, that live within rodent burrows, feeding on the rodent.


Humans typically come into contact with soft ticks when they sleep in rodent-infested cabins.

Diagnostic Criteria

  • Recurring episodes of high fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and nausea  

  • Reccurring symptoms, producing a telltale pattern of fever lasting roughly 3 days, followed by 7 days without fever, followed by another 3 days of fever. Without antibiotic treatment, this process can repeat several times.


  • Peripheral blood smear reveals a long and spiral-shaped bacterium.  


  • Avoid sleeping in rodent-infested buildings whenever possible. Although rodent nests may not be visible, other evidence of rodent activity (e.g., droppings) are a sign that a building may be infested.  

  • Prevent tick bites. Use insect repellent (on skin or clothing) or permethrin (applied to clothing or equipment).

Updated on, 29.10.2020


  1. STG

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