Volume 70, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The increasing popularity of foreign travel and ecotourism places travelers at increased risk for certain tick-borne diseases. From 1999 through 2002, 31 cases of imported spotted fever-group rickettsioses (SFGR) in United States residents reporting travel to Africa were confirmed by laboratory testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nineteen patients (61%) reported visiting South Africa prior to illness onset. Most patients reported fever and one or more eschars; rash was reported for only 26% of the patients. Twelve patients had an initial non-reactive acute-phase serum sample obtained a median of three days after illness onset, and were confirmed by testing a second convalescent-phase serum sample obtained a median of 32 days after illness onset. Five patients were confirmed positive through immunohistochemical staining of skin biopsies, including three patients with acute-phase serum samples that tested negative for SFGR. This study emphasizes the importance of evaluating convalescent-phase serum specimens 28 days or more after illness onset or examining skin biopsies by immunohistochemical staining during early infection to confirm a diagnosis of imported SFGR.


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  • Received : 08 Aug 2003
  • Accepted : 26 Sep 2003

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