Severe Queensland tick typhus complicated by diabetes in south-eastern Queensland

Theo F Birch and Michael Muller
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02793.x
Published online: 7 September 2009

To the Editor: Rickettsia australis is the causative organism of Queensland tick typhus, also known as Australian spotted fever. It is an obligate, intracellular organism that invades endothelial cells, causing vasculitis.1,2 Its transmission to humans is via Ixodes tick species, which can occur along the east coast of Australia, but predominantly occur in the north-east.3 R. australis was previously thought to have a low complication rate; however, severe sequelae such as multiorgan failure, severe pneumonia and digital necrosis have emerged in recent years.1

  • Theo F Birch1
  • Michael Muller1,2

  • 1 Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.


Acknowledgement: We thank Dr Michael Nissen, Medical Microbiologist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, for his assistance.


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