The rickettsia has created concern in the northern part of Mexicobut what is it? National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) published in its magazine Global UNAM all the information you need to know about this disease, find out if you are a person with risk of contagion and how to prevent it.
Dr. Guadalupe Soto Estrada, academic from the Department of Public Health of the Faculty of Medicine of the UNAM explained that the rickettsia is a infectious disease with a high level of lethality, for that reason it has to be treated as soon as the symptoms appear.
This disease is not so well known, but several cases have recently been reported in the north of the country, states such as Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Sonora have been affected by the rickettsia.
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How is it contagious?
This problem occurs when two bacteria from the typhoid and spotted fever group come together. In Mexico, there are several species of this problem, being Rickettsia rickettsii is the most dangerous with a rate of mortality of the 5% and the 65%.
There are two ways in which a person is exposed to contagion: by bite of an arthropod (especially ticks) and for contagion accidental in laboratories.
The academic affirmed that early detection of symptoms is important, since in Mexico it is a common problem that is transmitted through ticks. Its effects are often severe and those who survive have aftermath.
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These are often confused with the conditions of other diseases, in general, an affected person presents:
- Fever greater than 38°C
- Very tired
- Strong headache
- Rashes (they are similar to wheals)
- Pain in bones and muscles
- Red macules or rash
- When it enters the body and begins to affect it, it can create necrosis.
Soto Estrada explained that the time specialists have to attend to the problem is limited, the average incubation time is 14 days or less, the less time passes, the more the infection grows. The risks decrease if treated before five days.
Am I at risk of getting infected?
Due to the conditions in which it tends to spread, low-income people are usually the most likely to get rickettsia, in the detected cases, most people had:
- Difficulty in obtaining water potable.
- Being in places where there is an excess of people or animals.
- Inadequate sanitation system.
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How to prevent it?
Authorities that have mostly filed these cases are asking people to keep their environments clean and pets free of ticks. The professor added to the recommendations to prevent pets from being in places where they can be infected.
When a person contracts rickettsia antibiotics are provided, but a doctor’s prescription is important and, as always, self-medication is not recommended. The expert emphasized that, with proper care, the affected person could fully recover in two to three weeks.