Skip to Content
Medical Term:

relapsing fever


Definition: an acute infectious disease caused by any one of a number of strains of Borrelia, marked by a number of febrile attacks lasting about 6 days and separated from each other by apyretic intervals of about the same length; the microorganism is found in the blood during the febrile periods but not during the intervals, the disappearance being associated with specific antibodies and previously evoked antibodies. There are two epidemiologic varieties: the louse-borne variety, occurring chiefly in Europe, northern Africa, and India, and caused by strains of B. recurrentis; and the tick-borne variety, occurring in Africa, Asia, and North and South America, caused by various species, each of which is transmitted by a different species of the soft tick, Ornithodoros.

Synonym(s): bilious typhoid of Griesinger, recurrent fever, spirillum fever, typhinia

© Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.