Murine typhus, caused by Rickettsia typhi, is an undifferentiated febrile illness with no available rapid and sensitive diagnostic assay for use during early disease. We aimed to compare the health-care charges in those diagnosed with murine typhus to those with influenza, a febrile illness with an available rapid diagnostic test. A comparison of healthcare–associated charges at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston demonstrated a median of $817 for influenza versus $16,760 for murine typhus (P < 0.0001). Median laboratory ($184 versus $3,254 [P < 0.0001]) and imaging charges ($0 versus $514 [P < 0.0001]) were also higher in those with murine typhus. Those receiving at least one imaging study during their illness were greater in the murine typhus group (91.3% versus 20.3%) (P < 0.0001). The median time needed to establish a confirmed or presumptive diagnosis was 2 days for influenza compared with 9 days for murine typhus (P < 0.0001). The median number of health-care encounters was greater for those with murine typhus (2 versus 1) (P < 0.0001). Eleven patients (15.9%) with influenza were hospitalized as a result of their illness compared with 16 (69.6%) with murine typhus (P < 0.0001). The estimated mortality based on disease severity at presentation by Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scoring was similar in the two groups—both had a median 4% mortality risk (P = 0.0893). These results highlight the need for improved clinical recognition and diagnostics for acute rickettsioses such as murine typhus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases