The Typhus

This past week has been pretty miserable for me. Last week, I had on and off diarrhea and Friday I hit rock bottom. For Friday morning’s breakfast I had a pretty large bowl of cereal. The plan for the day was to accompany Gina to the University, along with Richard. Right before heading out, I started to feel nauseous. However, I thought it would pass so I still decided to go to the Center for Human Rights. As we were walking, I started to feel extremely nauseous. Gina and Richard told me I lost all the color to my face. So Gina decided to go to her meeting as planned, Richard and I sat at a German restaurant with an outside patio, he ordered me an Ambo to settle my upset stomach. I haven’t thrown up in years, I only remember throwing up once when I was four. A waitress tried to escort me inside to use the toilet but it was too late. I threw up my breakfast violently. Richard was lightly patting me on the back telling me that I might as well throw up the rest.  I apologized over and over again to the servers. As I sat to the closest seat I could find, trembling and drenched in sweat, Richard sits across from me completely unfazed and orders a “tenish macchiato.” Richard even offers to help clean my throw up. Though funny now, I felt HORRIBLE.


The days following consisted of extreme nausea, some diarrhea, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches. I was missing out on group events like Mama’s Kitchen and the morning hike. I took the liberty of going to the pharmacy and buying Cipro. I started to take Cipro on Saturday. Come Monday, still feeling extreme nausea to the point of trying to force myself to throw up, Gina take the initiative to call Yosef to take me to a hospital or a clinic. In 20 minutes, I get a call from Sammy and takes me to the nearest Clinic. There, they take blood and stool sample.  Later in the day, my result came in and they found typhus in my bloodstream. I was prescribed Doxycycline. The doctor assured it was nothing serious without really explaining what typhus is.



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Typhus is a bacterial disease spread by lice or fleas.



Typhus is caused by 2 types of bacteria: Rickettsia typhi or Rickettsia prowazekii.


Rickettsia typhi causes endemic or murine typhus.


  • Endemic typhus is uncommon in the United States. It is usually seen in areas where hygiene is poor and the temperature is cold. Endemic typhus is sometimes called “jail fever.” The bacteria that causes this type is usually spread from rats to fleas to humans.
  • Murine typhus occurs in the southern United States, particularly California and Texas. It is often seen during the summer and fall. It is rarely deadly. You are more likely to get this type of typhus if you are around rat feces or fleas, and other animals such as cats, possums, raccoons, and skunks.

Rickettsia prowazekii causes epidemic typhus. It is spread by lice.


Brill-Zinsser disease is a mild form of epidemic typhus. It occurs when the bacteria becomes active again in a person who was previously infected. It is more common in the elderly.



Out of everyone in my house, I am confident to say that I have been the most careful in consuming food. My housemates helped me inspect bites of any kind on my body which none were found. Unfortunately, I think it was just my bad luck I have typhus. The conclusion I came up with is that I may have consumed food that was made by someone with animals or I shared food with someone that may have dealt with animals.