Analysis of health-Care charges in murine typhus: Need for improved clinical recognition and diagnostics for acute disease

Rahat F. Vohra, David Walker, Lucas Blanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1594-1598
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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