Information for Public Health Officials

How to Contact the Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch at CDC

The general public and healthcare providers should first call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) for questions regarding typhus fevers. If a consultation with a CDC scientist specializing in rickettsial diseases is advised, your call will be appropriately forwarded.

Surveillance Case Definition

Currently, scrub typhus, flea-borne (murine) typhus, and epidemic typhus are not nationally notifiable conditions; however, your state may require notification. Please check with your state and local health departments about reportable diseases.

How to Submit Specimens to CDC for Typhus Fever Testing

Who May Submit Specimens to CDC

  • Commercial tests for Orientia tsutsugamushi and Rickettsia prowazekii are not widely available in the United States. Rickettsia typhi tests may be available in some locations.
  • State health departments may submit samples to CDC for confirmatory testing or with special permission from the Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch.

State Health Departments

  • Specimens may be submitted to CDC for testing of rickettsial diseases, including typhus fevers.
  • For sample submission, please see instructions on the CDC Test Directory.

US Healthcare Providers

  • US healthcare providers should submit specimens through their health department for testing. Do not send specimens directly to CDC.
  • CDC policy requires that specimens be submitted through, or with the approval of, the provider’s state health department.
  • Please contact your state health department to assist you with specimen submission and reporting of an infected patient.
  • Final reports of test results are returned to the state public health laboratory who is responsible for providing these reports to the primary submitter.

For general questions about typhus fevers or other rickettsial diseases, please call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636); public health officials or healthcare providers requiring an epidemiologic or clinical consultation will be forwarded appropriately to the epidemiologist on call. If you have questions about reporting a suspect case, please first consult your state health department.

Non-US Healthcare Providers

Non-US healthcare providers should consult CDC prior to submitting specimens for testing. For general questions about typhus fevers or other rickettsial diseases, please call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or (888-232-6348). For specimen requirements and submission instructions, please see CDC Test Directory.