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Test Order
Rickettsia species (R. rickettsii, R. typhi, Rickettsia spp.) Detection - PCR 

​Information Category​​Information Detail
Supplemental Information RequestedRequested: Travel history, symptoms, exposures (including animals, arthropods, etc), disease onset date, clinical summary, antibiotic therapy (drug name, dates of therapy)
Submittal FormSpecimens must be accompanied with a hard copy of the completed VRDL General Purpose Specimen Submittal Form or a form generated in the VRDL Lab Web Portal.
Methodology Real-time PCR (LDT) (Diagnostic)
Reflex TestingRickettsia rickettsii, Rickettsia felis, Rickettsia sp. 364D (R. philipii), Genotyping
Acceptable Specimen Type(s) and Collection Method

Human specimens:

  • Serum: serum tube (red top) or serum separator tube (red/gray top)
  • Plasma: EDTA (lavender top) tube
  • Eschar/Scab/Lesion: Dry lesion swab or scabs (tissue punch biopsy acceptable but typically not needed)
Minimum Volume Requested
  • Serum: 1 mL
  • Plasma: 1 mL
  • Whole blood in serum separator tubes: 5 mL
  • Whole blood in EDTA: 5 mL
Transport Medium (if using)Not Applicable
Specimen LabelingEach specimen tube must be labeled with at least two unique patient identifiers, e.g., patient full name and date of birth.
Storage & Preservation of Specimen / Shipping Conditions
  • Serum and plasma: freeze or refrigerate specimens after collection.
  • Whole blood: refrigerate specimens promptly after collection. Do not freeze whole blood.
  • Lesion swabs: freeze or refrigerate specimens promptly after collection.
  • Freezing is strongly recommended.

Ship refrigerated specimens to VRDL on cold packs. Ship frozen specimens to VRDL on dry ice.

Shipping Instructions


Work with your local public health department to ensure samples are packaged according to instructions for Biological Substance – Category B (UN 3373) shipment.

Ship specimens and a hard copy of the completed submittal forms to:     


ATTN: Specimen Receiving

850 Marina Bay Parkway

Richmond, CA 94804

Phone: 510-307-8585

Turnaround Time10 Business Days
LimitationsNegative results do not preclude the possibility of infection.
Additional Information
  • Samples should be collected as close to onset as possible and before or within 24-48 hours of initiating antibiotic therapy
  • This is a triplex assay with primers and differentially-labeled probes directed against Rickettsia spp., R. rickettsii,  & R. typhi
VRDL Points of ContactMedical and Epidemiology Liaisons: (510) 307-8585 or

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