The serological test for Rickettsia mooseri is used for the laboratory diagnosis and monitoring of patients with endemic typhus.
The species of the genus Rickettsia are Gram-negative, strictly intracellular bacilli that multiply within the cytoplasm of endothelial cells. Rickettsia mooseri (Rickettsia typhi), is the causative agent of endemic (murine) typhus.
Rickettsia typhi is mainly transmitted by the rat flea, Xenopsylla cheopis, although lice and mites are also potential vectors. Rats are considered the main reservoir of bacteria, but other vertebrates can also serve as a reservoir including mice, voles, opossums, and other rodents. Rats and rat fleas do not suffer from Rickettsia typhi and are lifelong infected. Endemic typhus has a worldwide distribution, but it mainly occurs in ports and coastal cities, where rodents are widespread.
The clinical manifestations of endemic typhus are similar to those of epidemic typhus, although the former is usually less severe. The incubation period is usually longer than that of the epidemic typhus. The precursor symptoms include headache, arthralgia, and feeling sick, with or without low-grade fever. The onset is characterized by persistent headache, high fever, and a skin rash mainly on the trunk. The rash is usually less obvious than that of the epidemic typhus and is sometimes absent. Complications are still rare in endemic typhus, which is generally considered to have a benign course because of complete recovery in almost all cases.
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. Although endemic typhus is usually a mild disease, delay in initiating appropriate antibiotic therapy is the major factor in the poor prognosis of rickettsiae infections.
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.