Body Lice and Typhus Fever

Body Lice Can Later Become Typhus Fever
A case of Body Lice, if left of untreated, can lead to serious illness, such as Epidemic Typhus Fever. This disease is not directly spread from person-to-person but through the body louse infected with the bacteria that cause Epidemic Typhus Fever. The Body Lice become infected when they feed on the blood of a person with Epidemic Typhus Fever and then pass infectious feces when they feed. People become infected when infected lice feces or crushed infected Body Lice are rubbed into small cuts on the skin. It is the feces, not the bite of the louse that spreads illness to humans. The disease may also be spread when a person breathes infected dried lice feces in dust.
Common symptoms of Epidemic Typhus Fever include fever, headache, chills, tiredness and muscle aches. In about 50% of the cases, people develop a flat red rash that begins on the back, chest and stomach and then spreads to the rest of the body except for the face, palms and soles. Other symptoms may include vomiting, eye sensitivity to light and confusion. In severe cases, complications of illness may include kidney failure and inflammation of the brain.

The disease has a 10 percent to 60 percent fatality rate, and experts say that the disease-causing organism could be used by terrorists as a biological weapon.