Spotted fever in Brazil: mortality study for epidemiological surveillance

Abstract Brazilian Spotted Fever is an infectious disease, typically characterized by mild to severe fever that if not properly treated, may reach a lethality rate of 85%. Brazilian Spotted Fever is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii that is transmitted through tick’s saliva. In Brazil, the most important vector is the Amblyomma cajennense. This study discusses the number of deaths due to infection by Rickettsia in Brazil, projecting the needs for knowledge expansion and dissemination on the possible occurrence of Brazilian Spotted Fever; and discusses the symptoms, differential diagnosis and epidemiological data. The methodology consisted in identifying the deaths by Rickettsia in Brazil, from 2005 to 2010, using the Mortality Information System. Seventy five cases were studied. There was a concentration of deaths in the southeast and south of the country, and a lethality rate of 24.8%. The results will help to raise awareness among professionals, and will help to understand the importance of combining clinical, epidemiological and laboratory data to facilitate recognition of the disease and early treatment.