Typhus is a disease the causative agent of which is a group of bacteria called Rickettsia. There are forms of typhus that are recognized nowadays: epidemic typhus (it is a serious form of disease that is considered to be fatal if not treated at once); rat-flea or endemic typhus (a milder form of the disease); and scrub typhus, (it is another fatal form of rickettsial disease transmitted to humans by mites and found in parts of eastern Asia).
The Rickettsia bacteria that can lead to all three types of typhus are transmitted by insects. For example, the Rickettsia that causes epidemic typhus is transmitted by the human body lice; the bacteria that lead to endemic typhus are transmitted by the Oriental rat flea; and Rickettsia bacteria causing scrub typhus are usually transmitted by chiggers.
How to do a research whether a person is infected or not? The physicians usually do it with the help of blood tests that are used to determine if people have typhus rickettsiae. People with the bacteria that cause typhus as a rule are treated with antibiotics. If the measures are taken timely and the treatment has been started at the early stage of the disease, the patients usually get better very quickly. If these measures are delayed, the improvement usually is slower, and the fever lasts longer. If the illness has been left untreated, typhus is likely to damage human's organs, can lead to coma, and even to lethal termination.
As a general rule, any illness is easier to prevent than to heal. Typhus is not an exception here. The prevention of typhus is based on avoiding the conditions of insanitariness in which the disease flourishes. It is quite reasonably to steer clear of animals such as rats and mice that may carry disease. Eliminating the carriers and reservoirs of Rickettsia is an important step in prevention the disease. You can do it with the help of spraying the insecticides, rodent control measures, and treating soil with insect-repellent substances. All these measures have been proved to be very successful in the matter of prevention of typhus.
If you are a traveler and want to go to the areas where typhus is rather common illness, you should be especially careful. You can use a typhus vaccine. However, it does not protect against infection, just lowers the severity and shortens the course of the illness.
There is one more preventative measure: it is the protection of the body from insect bites. Wear heavy clothing when going to potentially risky places and apply insect repellent to the skin. Proper personal hygiene will also help to eliminate human body lice. So bath frequently and change the clothes as often as it's possible.
There are a lot of researches that are held in order to prevent, make a right diagnosis and then treat the illness of typhus. As the disease is as old as a world, the science has made obvious successful steps in the course of years and centuries. As an example, in recent years researches upon typhus has gained the beneficent effects resulting from international co-operation in scientific and technical work. It is turned to development of various technologies assisting to overcome the disease and its harmful consequences. We wish good luck to all scientists and researches working in the research of typhus and other illnesses.