Key messages

• Typhoid should be suspected in all febrile patients returning from an endemic area; if diagnosed and treated early it has a very low mortality. The general principles of management of enteric fevers are similar to those for other Gram-negative infections, with rehydration and supportive care.

• Diphtheria is common in most of the developing world and the Russian republics. It is sporadic in developed countries.

• There are tens of thousands of cases of rabies every year worldwide, and only four claimed recoveries. Correct postbite prophylaxis is highly effective in preventing rabies cases. Once symptomatic rabies encephalitis occurs death is virtually inevitable, usually within a week without intensive care.

• It is essential that the possibility of viral hemorrhagic fever is considered in patients who have been in a relevant geographical area. It should be noted that taking and handling laboratory specimens is the most common cause of nosocomial viral hemorrhagic fever.

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