Trench fever in urban people who are homeless

December 07, 2020

A disease common during the First World War, trench fever, has been found in some urban populations experiencing homelessness in Canada, and physicians should be aware of this potentially fatal disease, highlights a practice article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

The article describes a 48-year-old man who visited an emergency department in Manitoba with chest pain and shortness of breath. In the previous 18 months, the patient had sought care for episodes of chest pain and body lice infestation.

Bartonella quintana is a bacterium that is transmitted by body lice and causes a disease called trench fever, which killed millions of people during the First World War. It can lead to an infection of the heart, known as endocarditis, that can be fatal if untreated.

"Our public health message is that this disease is present in Canada and that people and physicians aren't always aware," says Dr. Carl Boodman, an infectious disease physician at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba. "It's associated with homelessness and homeless shelters, and physicians should consider B. quintana infection in people who are unwell and have a history of body lice infestation."

The authors are aware of only 4 other cases in Canada over the last 20 years.

Symptoms of trench fever include fever, headache and malaise. It can be difficult to detect, requiring molecular testing and consultation with infectious disease experts.

"Clinicians should consider Bartonella serology, echocardiography and infectious disease consultation when caring for individuals who present unwell with a history of body lice infestation. B. quintana infection likely remains underdiagnosed," the authors conclude.
-end-
Listen to a podcast with the author
https://soundcloud.com/cmajpodcasts/201170-case

"Endocarditis due to Bartonella quintana, the etiological agent of trench fever" is published December 7, 2020.

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Related Infectious Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Archaeology uncovers infectious disease spread - 4000 years ago
New bioarchaeology research from a University of Otago PhD candidate has shown how infectious diseases may have spread 4000 years ago, while highlighting the dangers of letting such diseases run rife.

Lack of continuous infectious disease pandemic research endangers responses
The coronavirus was also studied considerably less than blood borne viruses like Hepatitis B or C and H.I.V. and its research community has less prolific researchers than the other investigated diseases.

For patients with sepsis, an infectious disease expert may reduce the risk of death
When people with severe sepsis, an extreme overreaction by the body to a serious infection, come to the emergency room (ER), they require timely, expert care to prevent organ failure and even death.

Infectious disease in marine life linked to decades of ocean warming
New research shows that long-term changes in diseases in ocean species coincides with decades of widespread environmental change.

What makes some people more receptive to the idea of being vaccinated against infectious disease?
Fear, trust, and the likelihood of exposure are three leading factors that influence whether people are willing to be vaccinated against a virulent disease, according to a new study in the journal Heliyon, published by Elsevier.

Can we feed 11 billion people while preventing the spread of infectious disease?
A new article published in Nature Sustainability describes how the increase in population and the need to feed everyone will give rise to human infectious disease, a situation the authors of the paper consider 'two of the most formidable ecological and public health challenges of the 21st century.'

Climate change responsible for severe infectious disease in UK frogs
Climate change has already increased the spread and severity of a fatal disease caused by Ranavirus that infects common frogs (Rana temporaria) in the UK, according to research led by ZSL's Institute of Zoology, UCL and Queen Mary University of London published today in Global Change Biology.

New research framework may help better understand, predict infectious disease risks
University of South Florida-led research identifies individual hosts more or less likely to escalate outbreaks.

Researchers study bacterial immunity to understand infectious disease
Patients with cystic fibrosis are often infected by pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that infects the lungs and prevents breathing, often causing death.

National Academies target opioid abuse and infectious disease consequences
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today released proceedings of a March 12 workshop exploring the rise in infectious diseases accompanying opioid abuse, and possible strategies for reducing both epidemics.

Read More: Infectious Disease News and Infectious Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.