An epidemic of Oroya fever in the Peruvian Andes.
Between February and October 1987, a febrile illness killed 14 persons and seriously affected at least 14 others in Shumpillan, a remote Peruvian mountain village of 353 people. The illness was characterized by fever, headache, chills, and pallor. The fatality rate of untreated cases was 88%. The patients, 71% of whom were male, were 1-75 years of age. Fatal illnesses progressed from lethargy to coma to death in 3-60 days. Patients treated empirically with chloramphenicol survived. Bartonella bacilliformis was isolated from the whole blood of 3 patients. A serologic study revealed a high prevalence of antibodies to B. bacilliformis in the villagers. It is concluded that the villagers suffered from an epidemic of Oroya fever.
Gray, GC; Johnson, AA; Thornton, SA; Smith, WA; Knobloch, J; Kelley, PW; Obregon Escudero, L; Arones Huayda, M; Wignall, FS
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