Rickettsialpox is a mild infection spread by the bites of infected mites. Less than 30 cases are reported in New York City per year.

You can get rickettsialpox if an infected mouse mite bites you. When mites bite, they do not attach for long, so you may not notice when you are bitten.


Symptoms of rickettsialpox are mild and can last for several days to a week. They include:

  • A dry, thickened scab with a black center
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash similar to chickenpox


The key to preventing rickettsialpox is rodent control. Mouse mites become infected by feeding on infected mice. To prevent mice infestation, remove and secure trash around your home and workplace. Contact an exterminator if infestation is severe.

Learn more about pest control.


You can treat rickettsialpox with antibiotics, such as tetracycline or doxycycline. However, many people get better without treatment.

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