Mediterranean Spotted Fever: Retrospective Review of Hospitalized Cases and Predictive Factors of Severe Disease

Mariana Meireles, Rui Magalhães, Arlindo Guimas


Introduction: Mediterranean spotted fever, an ancient zoonotic disease raising current issues. This study aims to reevaluate the disease clinical picture and to identify prognostic factors related to severe disease.
Material and Methods: We evaluate cases admitted to a central hospital during 12-year period. The risk factors were determined by uni and multivariate analysis, comparing patients admitted in general infirmary versus intermediate/intensive care units or in case of death.
Results: We reviewed 71 cases of Mediterranean spotted fever. The mean age was 63.3 ± 16.7 years and 52.1% were male. The eschar was observed in 62.0%. Fever and rash were the most common clinical findings. Forty five percent of patients developed complications and 22.5% were admitted to intermediate and/or intensive care units. Apyrexia, dyspnea, renal failure and elevated lactic dehydrogenase levels at admission were predictors of severe disease development (p < 0.034). Alcoholism was related with prolonged hospitalization (p = 0.020). Absence of fever (p = 0.019) and elevated serum creatinine levels (p = 0.028) were identified as independent factors associated with severe outcome. The mortality rate was 2.8%.
Discussion: Although Mediterranean spotted fever is usually assumed to be benign, severe cases are emerging.
Conclusion: Early identification of the infection and continuous patient surveillance are crucial, particularly in those with greater risk of developing severe or fatal disease.


Boutonneuse Fever; Prognosis; Rickettsia conorii; Rickettsia Infections; Risk Factors.

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