K. Sharpe1, A. Freeman1, L. Kunde1, H.P. Soyer1,2, J. Wu1
Background: Rickettsia australis is a member of the Rickettsial Spotted Fever Group (RSFG) and the causative agent of Queensland Tick Typhus (QTT). A recent review of the literature suggests that QTT can be more than a mild selflimiting disease, with reports of complications requiring intensive care support and at least one fatality. With changes in factors such as population demographics, climate change and vector distribution, greater awareness of the disease is needed to protect the population against the increasing threat it poses to the health of South East Queenslanders.
Methods: Herein we describe two cases of Queensland Tick Typhus presenting as an acute onset febrile illness with rash. We present this in combination with a review of the scientific literature and reported cases (1950–2017).
Conclusion: The pathogenic spotted fever group of rickettsia in Australia includes Rickettsia australis. Among other locations, it is endemic in South East Queensland where our two cases presented. Transmission of infection on account of human contact with the invertebrate vector has become more likely given recent changes in climate and living conditions increasing both vector abundance and the opportunity for human interaction with the vector through occupational and leisure activities in their habitat. Diagnosis of QTT is often delayed given the non-specific nature of its presentation, however given the potentially serious complications of untreated disease it is important that practitioners are educated on its earliest clinical features. We hope to acquaint our audience with this increasingly prevalent disease, its presentation, diagnosis, and treatment.