The serological test for Rickettsia conorii is used for the laboratory diagnosis and monitoring of patients with Mediterranean spotted fever.
The species of the genus Rickettsia are Gram-negative, strictly intracellular bacilli that multiply within the cytoplasm of endothelial cells. Rickettsia conorii, is the causative agent of Mediterranean spotted fever. Ticks are both the vector and the main reservoir of spotted Mediterranean fever rickettsiae. Humans are usually infected through the tick bite or less commonly through the tick's infected hemolymph after crushing it.
In general, the disease is characterized clinically by the combination of fever, headache, myalgia, and a cutaneous maculopapular rash involving the whole body including the palms and soles. A scar may develop at the site of the tick bite, but often goes unnoticed, and local lymphadenopathy is present. The incubation period is usually 4 to 7 days. Mediterranean spotted fever is generally considered a benign progressive disease, but serious complications are also reported in 6% of patients. Malignant forms of the disease may present with a petechial rash and may lead to neurological, renal, or cardiac complications.
The diagnosis of rickettsia is based on serological tests. The presence of antibodies is usually detected 10 days after the onset of systemic symptoms, and antibody titers peak after 3 to 4 weeks or even later if antibiotic therapy has been administered.
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. The 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.