What are the possible complications of scrub typhus?

Updated: Apr 19, 2018
  • Author: David J Cennimo, MD, FAAP, FACP, FIDSA, AAHIVS; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Scrub typhus patients who are not treated may develop serious complications and may even die. Mortality ranges from 1% to 60%, depending on the geographic area and the pathogenic strain. Death can occur either from the primary infection or from secondary complications (eg, pneumonitis, encephalitis, or circulatory failure). Most fatalities occur by the end of the second week of infection.

Scrub typhus has an increased potential for complications when patients are older than 60 years, present without eschar, or have white blood cell (WBC) counts higher than 10,000/μL. [41] This condition represents an important cause of fever associated with poor pregnancy outcomes in refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border. [42]  Another study reported that more than a third of pregnant women with murine typhus or scrub typhus infection have poor neonatal outcomes. [43, 44]


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