Epidemic Typhus Meningitis in the Southwestern United States

Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Mar 15;32(6):979-82. doi: 10.1086/319351. Epub 2001 Mar 9.


A patient residing in New Mexico had murine typhus diagnosed. A novel molecular assay was performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Rickettsia prowazekii, the agent of epidemic typhus, was found, rather than R. typhi. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of epidemic typhus confirmed by means of polymerase chain reaction--based testing of cerebrospinal fluid, and it introduces a novel assay for the molecular diagnosis of both epidemic and murine typhus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rickettsia prowazekii / genetics*
  • Rickettsia prowazekii / isolation & purification
  • Southwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Typhus, Epidemic Louse-Borne / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Typhus, Epidemic Louse-Borne / diagnosis
  • Typhus, Epidemic Louse-Borne / epidemiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial