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Papers of the Week

2022 Apr




Incidence Rate of Somatic Dysfunction in Previously Undiagnosed Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis: A Case Report.



Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis (SFR) is a systemic vasculopathy due to tick-borne rickettsial infection. Presenting symptoms and signs may be nonspecific or include the triad of fever, headache, and a rash. Established long-term complications of SFR include debilitating neuromusculoskeletal sequelae; however, no reports describe the incidence of somatic dysfunction (SD) in SFR. We present the first description of SD in previously undiagnosed SFR. Incidence of SD before diagnosis and after antibiotic therapy was assessed every seven weeks throughout 28 weeks of Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine (ONMM) care, including osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) administered twice a month on average. The patient presented with the chief complaint of worsening neck and back pain interfering with sleep. Other symptoms included blurry vision, right-hand weakness, a truncal rash, and absence of fevers. A 14-week trial of OMT failed to significantly decrease the incidence of SD compared to baseline. Extensive workup for an underlying condition revealed moderate axonal sensorimotor polyneuropathy and elevated rickettsial IgG titers. Doxycycline therapy was initiated alongside ongoing ONMM care. Incidence of SD over the 14-week post-antibiotic OMT period was significantly less than that assessed at baseline and during the OMT-only period. This case highlights the utility of periodic graphical assessment for monitoring SD response to OMT.