House Wiki

Rickettsialpox is a bacterial infection that is spread by infected mice and the mites that feed off of them. The disease can be transmitted to humans when an infected mite bites a human.

Although the disease is of ancient vintage, it was not identified as a separate condition until the mid 20th century when it was identified in crowded, mice-infested urban areas.

The disease is characterized by a rash that covers the entire body after starting from the bite site. The bite generally starts as a bump, then scabs over with a dark scab. It also can cause fever, chills and body aches. It rarely passes from human to human.

Rickettsialpox is rarely fatal will resolve within three weeks. However, it does respond to doxycycline.

The disease can sometimes be asymptomatic or severe and may be fatal if untreated.[1]

Appearances in House[]

In the episode "A Pox on Our House", Julie and her stepfather Niles both catch the disease after a medical sample jar with scabs in it broke while the former was holding it. She recovers from it, but Niles ultimately dies from it due to them catching it late and him being immunocompromised.


  • Despite it typically being a non-fatal disease, immunocompromised Niles dies from it in the episode "A Pox on Our House".

Rickettsialpox at Wikipedia