Hippocrates probably described the first epidemic of relapsing fever,1 and no further mention of this disease was made until 1741, when Rutty2 observed a disease of this type associated with typhus fever during an epidemic in Dublin. In 1857 Livingston reported that in South Africa a peculiar type of relapsing fever often followed the bite of a tick. During an epidemic in Germany in 1873, Obermeyer confirmed his earlier observation (1868) that relapsing fever was a spirochetosis by demonstrating spirochetes in the blood of a large number of patients. In 1904, the spirochete of African relapsing fever was discovered independently by a number of workers, and Dutton and Todd proved its transmission by a tick. In 1907 Novy discovered the spirochete causing the American disease. Sargent and Folley (1910) proved that European relapsing fever was transmitted by a louse.
The first case in the United States occurred in
VARDEN AE. RELAPSING FEVER IN CHILDREN. Am J Dis Child. 1934;48(2):359-372. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1934.01960150118011