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Emerg Infect Dis. 2006 Mar;12(3):369-74.

Possibilities for relapsing fever reemergence.

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  • 1Bacterial Zoonoses, Statutory & Exotic Bacterial Diseases, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Surrey, United Kingdom.


Relapsing fever Borrelia infections have attracted little attention in recent years; however, where endemic, these infections still result in considerable illness and death. Despite the marked antimicrobial drug susceptibility of these organisms, therapy is often delayed through lack of clinical suspicion. With increasing travel, infections may be imported, through exotic relapsing fever infection or through resurgence of infected disease vectors. Although louseborne relapsing fever is now geographically limited, it was once of global importance. The possibility for reemergence was recently highlighted by the probable reemergence of louseborne relapsing fever in homeless persons from France. Host limitations enforced through louseborne transmission are less applicable for the tickborne forms of relapsing fever. Although the latter have reduced potential for epidemic spread, they have the ability to infect diverse hosts, thus establishing reservoirs of infection and presenting greater challenges for their control.

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