Medical Definition of Brill-Zinsser disease

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Brill-Zinsser disease: Recrudescence of epidemic typhus years after the initial attack. The agent that causes epidemic typhus (Rickettsia prowazekii) remains viable for many years and then when host defenses are down, it is reactivated causing recurrent typhus. The disease is named for the physician Nathan Brill and the great bacteriologist Hans Zinsser.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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