Relapsing fever is seldom fatal, but can be very serious and prolonged if not treated. In extreme cases, after several cycles of fever, some people may experience seizures, stupor, and coma. The bacterium also can damage the heart and liver. Widespread bleeding is another complication.
Relapsing fever is not transmitted from person to person except in the case of pregnant women, who sometimes transmit the infection to their fetuses.
Last Updated November 15, 2011
Last Reviewed November 14, 2011