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J Formos Med Assoc. 1995 Mar;94(3):101-5.

Hepatic dysfunction in scrub typhus.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.


Scrub typhus is an acute febrile illness that generally causes non-specific symptoms and signs of which fever is the most common. It is one of the causes of "fevers of unknown origin" in the Asia-Pacific region. The relationship between hepatic dysfunction and scrub typhus has been given little attention in the literature. From 1982 to 1993, 47 patients diagnosed with scrub typhus at Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, were studied, with attention being given to hepatic dysfunction. The medical records of these patients were reviewed thoroughly. Hepatic dysfunction occurred in 77% (36/47) of patients. Among the liver function parameters, the percentage of abnormality was 74.5% for aspartate aminotransferase, 74.5% for alanine aminotransferase, 57.4% for alkaline phosphatase, 44.7% for lactate dehydrogenase and 44.7% for serum bilirubin. Six patients presented with a picture of true hepatitis similar to acute viral hepatitis. The results indicate that hepatocellular damage does occur in scrub typhus, and is perhaps, more common than previously realized. We recommend that the differential diagnosis of patients from high-risk groups and endemic areas who present with hepatitis-like symptoms should include examination for scrub typhus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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