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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Acute sensorineural hearing loss and severe otalgia due to scrub typhus

Ji-In Kang1, Dong-Min Kim13* and Joonhan Lee2

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Chosun University, School of Medicine, Gwangju City, Republic of Korea

2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Chosun University, School of Medicine, Gwangju City, Republic of Korea

3 Research Center for Resistant Cell, Chosun University, School of Medicine, Gwangju City, Republic of Korea

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2009, 9:173  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-173

Published: 22 October 2009

Abstract

Background

Scrub typhus is an acute febrile illness caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi.

Case presentations

We encountered a patient with sensorineural hearing loss complicating scrub typhus, and three patients with scrub typhus who complained of otalgia, which was sudden onset, severe, paroxysmal, intermittent yet persistent pain lasting for several seconds, appeared within 1 week after the onset of fever and rash. The acute sensorineural hearing loss and otalgia were resolved after antibiotic administration.

Conclusion

When patients in endemic areas present with fever and rash and have sensorineural hearing loss or otalgia without otoscopic abnormalities, clinicians should suspect scrub typhus and consider empirical antibiotic therapy.