The liver in rocky mountain spotted fever

J. S. Adams, D. H. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Hepatic tissues from nine patients who had fatal Rocky Mountain spotted fever were examined in sequential sections by brightfield and immunofluorescence microscopy for histologic lesions and for coincidence of these lesions with the distribution of Rickettsia rickettsii. The basic hepatic lesion in Rocky Mountain spotted fever is an inflammation of the portal triad in which large mononuclear cells and neutrophils predominate. Rickettsiae were demonstrated in lesions of the portal triads in eight of nine cases. Inflammation of the portal triad and sinusoidal erythrophagocytosis showed a strong relationship to the presence of the disease state when comparisons with age- and sex-matched control subjects were made. Hepatocellular necrosis was not found to be an important pathologic feature of the disease. Elevated serum bilirubin values and jaundice are likely to be due to a combination of duct obstruction secondary to inflammation and edema of portal triads, and hemolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-161
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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