Rickettsia are gram-negative, polymorphic, rod-shaped bacteria. Their survival depends on eukaryotic host cells. Due to this dependence, they are often referred to be obligate intracellular parasites.

The two most important biological groups within the Rickettsia species are the spotted-fever-group and the tick-bite-fever-group. Diseases occurring in the Western Hemisphere include Rickettsialpox and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF).

According to Professor Sievers, Rickettsia helvetica, especially, can cause heart complaints, sarcoidosis, and unclear fever. Depending on the region, about 10% of the ticks can carry Rickettsia helvetica.

So far, there haven’t been any routine laboratory tests for the detection of Rickettsia helvetica in humans. However, the detection of Rickettsia helvetica and other Rickettsia species is available for the first time through the Rickettsia EliSpot.

The Rickettsia EliSpot contains, among others, the following Rickettsia species in one test:

  Rickettsia conorii
  Rickettsia helvetica
  Rickettsia rickettsii

For more information on Rickettsia, click here to be redirected to the ArminLabs website.



The EliSpot is a single-cell based test and directly measures the number of activated T-cells due to their Cytokine release. Therefore, the Elispot is a highly specific method with a high sensitivity and has long been used as the gold standard in vaccine development. It is also used for chronic infections, desensitization, monitoring the immune status after transplantation, the progress of immune reactions as a result of immunization, and tumors.

  The EliSpot can be helpful in monitoring therapies. It should usually be negative four to eight weeks after the end of an effective therapy.
  The EliSpot is almost as sensitive as an RT-PCR (Real Time PCR) test, but it detects the pathogen protein instead of mRNA (messenger RNA).
  The EliSpot is between 20 to 200 times more sensitive than an ordinary ELISA antibody test.
  The EliSpot is highly sensitive and can already detect a single T-cell reacting to Rickettsia sp.
  The EliSpot reflects the current activity of the pathogen in both acute and chronic infections with Rickettsia sp.
  With detection limits of up to one cell in 100,000, the EliSpot is one of the most sensitive cellular test methods available.


With Justin Bieber’s recent revelation of lyme disease, some people have questions about the insect-borne illness. Andreas Grossgold, MD., PhD., joins Bloom to share his expertise on lyme disease and other chronic infections.

The Grossgold Clinic