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Acta Médica Costarricense

versão On-line ISSN 0001-6002versão impressa ISSN 0001-6012


PADDOCK, Christopher D. Perspectives on the laboratory diagnosis of rickettsial diseases in the 21st century. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2013, vol.55, suppl.1, pp.13-24. ISSN 0001-6002.

Robust laboratory methods are necessary to distinguish rickettsioses from other infectious diseases and to accurately distinguish one rickettsiosis from another. The major categories of diagnostic techniques used for rickettsioses, i.e., direct visualization by histological or immunohistochemical stains, serology, culture, and molecular techniques, each have unique strengths and weaknesses. This review discusses some of the advantages and disadvantages inherent to each method and how these techniques might evolve collectively in the future. Many rickettsial diseases have been historically understudied, often because the pathogens were considered difficult to grow, difficult to stain, and dangerous to propagate. As we progress into the 21st century, the broader use of diagnostic assays, particularly in many tropical and developing countries, will better leverage the global recognition of rickettsioses, and the impact that these infections have on enormous segments of the world population. It will be increasingly important for contemporary rickettsiologists to refrain from replacing entirely classical methods such as culture, serology, or even direct visualization with more rapidly evolving and increasingly sophisticated molecular techniques. Extraordinary results can be achieved when multiple techniques are used in tandem.

Palavras-chave : Rickettsia; Ehrlichia; Orientia; Coxiella; diagnosis.

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