Spotted fever in Brazil: mortality study for epidemiological surveillance

Abstract Spotted Fever is an infectious disease, typically characterized by mild to severe fever, and may reach a 85% lethality rate if not properly treated. Spotted Fever is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, and 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 rickettsial infection in Brazil, by projecting the needs for expansion and dissemination of knowledge on the possible occurrence of the Brazilian Spotted Fever; we also discuss 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 in raising 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.