Louse-borne relapsing fever

Male human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis. Credit: Gilles San Martin

Louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF) is a vector-borne disease caused by the spirochaete Borrelia recurrentis, a human-restricted pathogen transmitted by the body louse Pediculus humanus humanus.

The disease can be severe and death occurs in 10% to 40% of cases in the absence of appropriate treatment, and in 2-5% of treated patients. A potentially severe or fatal Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction can be induced by antibiotic treatment.

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