EPIDEMIOLOGY, CLINICAL ASPECTS, LABORATORY DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF RICKETTSIAL DISEASES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN AREA DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

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Andrea De Vito
Nicholas Geremia
Maria Sabrina Mameli
Vito Fiore
Pier Andrea Serra
Gaia Rocchitta
Susanna Nuvoli
Angela Spanu
Renato Lobrano
Antonio Cossu
Sergio Babudieri
Giordano Maddeddu
(*) Corresponding Author:

Abstract

The purpose of the present review is to give an update regarding the classification, the epidemiology, the clinical manifestation, the diagnoses, and the treatment of the Rickettsiae species present in the Mediterranean area.


We performed a comprehensive search, through electronic databases (Pubmed – MEDLINE) and search engines (Google Scholar), of peer-reviewed publications (articles, reviews, and books).


The availability of new diagnostic tools, including Polymerase Chain Reaction and nucleotide sequencing has significantly modified the classification of intracellular bacteria, including the order Rickettsiales with more and more new Rickettsia species recognized as human pathogens. Furthermore, emerging Rickettsia species have been found in several countries and are often associated with unique clinical pictures that may challenge the physician in the early detection of the diseases.


Rickettsial infections include a wide spectrum of clinical presentations ranging from a benign to a potentially life treating disease that requires prompt recognition and proper management. Recently, due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the differential diagnosis with COVID-19 is of crucial importance. The correct understanding of the clinical features, diagnostic tools, and proper treatment can assist clinicians in the management of Rickettsioses in the Mediterranean area.


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