How does Rickettsiae Spread?

The Rickettsiae are a various group of bacteria that can be transmitted to humans through the bites of blood-sucking arthropods such as fleas, lice, ticks or mites. These bacteria can live and grow only inside the cells of another organism and cannot last by themselves in the natural environment.

How does Rickettsiae spread?

Rickettsial infections do not spread from person to person. Rickettsiae are generally spread to people through the bites of ticks, mites, fleas or lice that earlier feed on an infected animal. Rickettsiae are typically injected right from the saliva of ticks and mites as they feed on humans.

The several diseases caused by rickettsial infections are,

  1. Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  2. Typhus
  3. Ehrlichiosis
  4. Q fever

These all have similar symptoms, the same type of treatment and they almost spread in the same way.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is one of the most severe infectious diseases in humans, with a death rate of 20 to 25% unless treated with a proper antibiotic. The disease is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii bacterium, that is transmitted by tick bites. About 5% of Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases are incurable as the person does not receive treatment quickly.


Typhus can appear in various forms such as Murine Typhus and Brill-Zinsser disease. It is spread through the bites of fleas or lice. People infected with this disease become very sick and often have a high fever. Additionally, typhus is rarely fatal.

  • Murine Typhus is widespread all over the world, mainly countries with warm climates and other places where rat populations are high. Rickettsia typhi relates to rats and fleas. People who meet fleas that feed on rats are at the greatest risk for the disease.
  • Brill-Zinsser Disease is a repetition of epidemic typhus. Once the body defenses are down, organisms left over from the previous illness may reboot. This disease causes mild symptoms and is curable.


Enhrlichiosis is caused by infection through the species of Enhrlichia bacteria E. This disease is spread to people through tick bites. Moreover, this disease produces symptoms such as a severe headache, muscle pain, fever, and rash.  Severe cases can lead to coma and death.

Q Fever

Q fever is caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetti, that lives mostly in farm animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle. Folks who work with animals are most at risk for the disease. Moreover, people infected with this disease may not have any symptoms or may experience symptoms like the flu.

People living in unhygienic environments or people working with animals are most at risk for Rickettsiae. Rickettsia spreads through bites of fleas, lice, ticks and mites. Fight Rickettsiae.