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Louse-Borne Relapsing Fever

Louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF) is caused by the spirochete, Borrelia recurrentis, and is largely transmitted from person to person by lice. This bacteria is unique because it can alter the proteins expressed on its surface which causes the “relapsing” characteristic symptoms. It initially infects the mucus membranes and then moves into the bloodstream.

Symptoms can include:

1) Fever
2) Malaise
3) Fatigue
4) Cognitive Dysfunction
5) Prolonged QT interval on EKG
6) Jaundice

Generally, this is a more severe infection than tick-borne relapsing fever and is often found in poor, underdeveloped countries such as Ethiopia.