Growth and Multiplications

Organisms causing rickettsia and chlamydia are obligate intracellular gram-negative bacteria. This means they need the host’s cell to survive and multiply. Here is how the organisms grow and multiply.

Rickettsia

They multiply by transverse binary fission, which means the parasite multiply by dividing the cell into two parts. The bacteria spread from an arthropod, such as mosquitoes or fleas, to an individual.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia also divides by binary fission. They seal the host cell to multiply and need ATP from the host as they cannot produce their ATP.

The bacteria spread from person-to-person and affects the Columnar epithelium.

Causes

Rickettsia

Multiply bacteria cause rickettsia, and each causes a different disease type (more on it in symptoms). Most of these bacteria can spread by infectious fluids, such as feces, or bites from ectoparasites such as lice, ticks, fleas, and mites. You can also catch the infection by infecting the eye with infectious material or inhaling bacteria.

Chlamydia

It is a sexually transmitted disease and spreads quickly through unprotected anal, oral, or vaginal sex. It is also essential to understand that ejaculation is not necessary for the infection to spread as touching genitals may also transmit bacteria.

Besides, a newborn can catch an infection from the mother during vaginal delivery. Rarely, chlamydia infection in the eye can also occur.

Symptoms

Rickettsia

The symptoms depend on the type of bacteria. Some common conditions associated with rickettsia are:

Rickettsiosis

It is caused by the bite of the Gulf Coast tick that causes a type of spotted fever. Some common symptoms include:

  • Fever with rash
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches

It may also cause a scab at the place of infection.

Anaplasmosis

If a western black-legged tick or black-legged tick bites a rodent infected with the bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum and then bites you, you may get this infection.

Symptoms are usually mild and may cause:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint pain

In some cases, symptoms may be absent.

Ehrlichiosis

The condition is caused by the female Lone Star tick. Some symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Confusion

If left unattended, it may cause:

  • Kidney infection
  • Heart or respiratory failure
  • Coma

It can also happen if you are allergic to red meat. In this case, symptoms include:

  • Hives
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Breathing problems
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Unlike other infections, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is severe and may damage your organs if not unattended immediately. 

The brown dog tick, the American dog tick, and the Rocky Mountain wood tick can spread this infection.

Common symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Rash around ankles and wrists that can spread to soles and palms

The primary sign of the infection is red spots without itching.

Chlamydia

In most cases, chlamydia does not cause any symptoms, and thus most infected people are not aware of the condition. 

Its symptoms are different for both men and women.

Men

When present symptoms include:

  • Green or yellow discharge from the penis
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Pain in the testicles
  • Lower abdominal pain

If it affects the anus, it may cause:

  • Pain in the anal region
  • Bleeding or discharge from the anus

In case of an oral infection, the symptoms are:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat

Women

Common symptoms include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Burning sensation during urination

If the infection spreads to the pelvis, it may cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Symptoms of PID may include:

  • Severe pelvic pain
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods

If it affects the anus, it may cause:

  • Pain in the anal region
  • Bleeding or discharge from the anus

In case of an oral infection, the symptoms are:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat

Diagnosis

Rickettsia

Diagnosis depends on the symptoms. A blood test can help check antibodies against the specific bacterial antigen. 

In cases where a swab is present, a biopsy sample or a swab can be checked through PCR. 

Chlamydia

Chlamydia may cause sores, and your doctor will run a physical check to examine them. The most effective test is taking a swab from the vagina in women and anus or throat. For men, urine examination can also help to catch the infection.

Treatment

As both rickettsia and chlamydia are bacterial infections, antibiotics can help manage them. 

Rickettsia

In most cases, tetracycline, commonly doxycycline, is recommended for patients of all ages.

Chloramphenicol may be an alternative in some cases. However, it has a higher risk of death as compared to tetracycline. In tetracycline-resistant cases, azithromycin can be an effective alternative.

Chlamydia

As chlamydia is a bacterial infection, antibiotics help to manage it. Commonly used antibiotics are:

  • Azithromycin: Usually prescribed to be taken in a single large dose
  • Doxycycline: To be taken twice a day for a week

If you are allergic to the mentioned medicines or they are not advisable for you, the doctor may prescribe other antibiotics such as erythromycin or amoxicillin. So, do not take medicine before consulting your doctor.

Despite the choice of antibiotics, taking medicine correctly will ensure that the infection is cleared completely. It may take up to two weeks for the same.

Your doctor will advise refraining from sex during treatment to prevent the spread of the infection to your partner. It is also possible to get or spread the infection if you are exposed to the bacteria again, even if you are treated for your previous infection.

Prevention

Rickettsia

As of now, there is no vaccine available to prevent rickettsia. Antibiotics can help manage the condition but are not advisable for prevention and should not be given to asymptomatic individuals.

Ways to prevent the infection are:

  • Follow all travel instructions
  • Use tick or insect repellent on clothing or skin
  • Screen yourself by consulting a doctor
  • Wear protective covering

Chlamydia

The surest and the best way to prevent spreading or contracting chlamydia infection is to use a condom during sex.

It is recommended to:

  • Use a condom, especially with each new partner
  • Avoid having oral sex unless the partner is screened for STIs
  • Get screened regularly
  • Limit the number of sexual partners
  • Correct and consistent use of condoms
  • Avoid sex until the treatment is complete
  • Get tested if you are pregnant or planning to conceive
Read More... 832 Views