Rickettsia PCR

Which test do we use?

A real-time PCR that detects DNA of Rickettsia of the spotted fever group.


A real-time PCR that detects DNA of Rickettsia of the typhus group.



  • material taken from the inoculation eschar (highest sensitivity)
  • a biopsy (alternatively a swab) from the cutaneous rash/blisters/petechiae (Minimum 4 mm on 4 mm)
  • for the typhus group: EDTA-whole blood (in the absence of skin abnormalities) (lowest sensitivity)

Sampling instructions

Biopsy/skin flakes of eschar/rash:

  • Immediately place biopsies in sterile fysiological water
  • Store scabs or skin flakes in a dry and sterile container

Alternative: Take a dry and sterile flocked swab by making three rotating movements against the side of the skin lesion. Immediately store the swab at 4°C in a dry place.
Only in the absence of skin abnormalities (lowest sensitivity): EDTA blood (min. 2ml)

Storage conditions

Samples that were stored at 4°C can be sent at room temperature.
Samples that were stored at -20°c have to be sent on dry ice.

Transport time has to be kept to a minimum (avoid transportation during weekends and holydays).

Important advice

This tests are only performed for diagnosis during the acute phase of the disease (until 7-15 days after the onset of symptoms) (EDTA blood) or as long as lesions are present (biopsy/ skin flakes). Please indicate on the request form which PCR should be performed.

Request form National Reference Center (NRC)



Reference values


How soon can you expect results?

See ‘How frequently do we perform this analysis?’


ISO 15189 – Belac 147-MED



Laatste wijziging op: 23/01/2020