Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Infectious Diseases and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Dose-response model of murine typhus (Rickettsia typhi): time post inoculation and host age dependency analysis

Sushil B Tamrakar*, Yin Huang, Sondra S Teske and Charles N Haas

Author Affiliations

Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 10104, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:77  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-77

Published: 30 March 2012



Rickettsia typhi (R. mooseri) is the causative agent of murine typhus. It is one of the most widely distributed flea-borne diseases with a relatively mild febrile initial illness with six to 14 days of incubation period. The bacterium is gram negative and an obligate intracellular pathogen. The disease is transmitted to humans and vertebrate host through fleabites or via contact with infected feces. This paper develops dose-response models of different routes of exposure for typhus in rodents.


Data from published articles were analyzed using parametric dose-response relationship models. Dose-response relationships were fit to data using the method of maximum likelihood estimation (MLE).


Dose-response models quantifying the effects of different ages of rats and time post inoculation in BALB/c mice were analyzed in the study. Both the adult rats (inoculated intradermally) and newborn rats (inoculated subcutaneously) were best fit by exponential models and both distributions could be described by a single dose-response relationship. The BALB/C mice inoculated subcutaneously were best fit by Beta-Poisson models. The time post inoculation analysis showed that there was a definite time and response relationship existed in this case.


Intradermally or subcutaneously inoculated rats (adult and newborn) models suggest that less than 1 plaque-forming unit (PFU) (1.33 to 0.38 in 95% confidence limits) of the pathogen is enough to seroconvert 50% of the exposed population on average. For the BALB/c mouse time post inoculation model, an average dose of 0.28 plaque-forming units (PFU) (0.75 to 0.11 in 95% confidence limits) will seroconvert 50% of the exposed mice.