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Rickettsia sp., Molecular Detection

Molecular testing for rickets is used for the laboratory documentation of rickets.

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Rickettsia is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria that are pleomorphic, mobile, rodent and obligate intracellular. The genomes of Rickettsia species consist of a single circular DNA chromosome usually up to 1 Mbp (million base pairs). These genomes consist of 900 to 1500 genes per species, of which 743 genes are common to all genomes of the Rickettsia species studied to date.

Rickettsia species can be classified into the following groups based on the severity of the infections they cause:

  • Spotted Fever Group
  • Hurricane Team
  • Bush Tumor Group (Tsutsugamushi disease)


Rickettsia species are transmitted by ticks, fleas and lice and transmitted to humans through bites from infected arthropods. Rickets attach to the endothelial lining of the vascular system using adhesins (proteins of their outer membrane), then phagocytosis with the result that they invade the host cell. Once inside the cell, the bacteria multiply, resulting in the lysis of the host cell due to the accumulation of a large number of bacteria (typhoid) or escape from the cells causing damage to the membrane resulting in the influx of water (blotch fever). In particular, the entry of Rickets into the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels results in the appearance of stained Rocky Mountain Fever (RMSF).

Infection with the various species of Rickettsia can cause rash or classic typhoid, Mediterranean blotchy fever, Rocky blotchy fever and Q fever with common symptoms such as skin rash, headache, neurological symptoms, Spotted Rocky Fever in particular causes bleeding, inflammation and blood clots. Infection with the most infectious species of Rickets (Rickettsia rickettsii and Rickettsia prowazekii) has a high mortality rate if treatment is not given early in the infection.

Tetracyclines are the drug of choice in the treatment of Rickets infections. There are no vaccines available.

Molecular controls for Rickets use primers that recognize the following microorganisms:

  • Rickettsia rickettsii
  • Rickettsia typhi (mooseri)
  • Rickettsia conorii
  • Rickettsia prowazekii
  • Rickettsia akari
  • Rickettsia australis
  • Rickettsia honei
  • Rickettsia marmionii
  • Rickettsia sibirica





Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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