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- Rocky Mountain spotted fever may cause a rash of small red spots or blotches that begin on the wrists, palms or soles. The rash often spreads to the arms, legs and torso. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by infection with the organism Rickettsia rickettsii. Ticks carrying R. rickettsii are the most common source of infection.
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Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a bacterial infection transmitted by a tick. Without prompt treatment, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause serious damage to internal organs, such as your kidneys and heart.Although it was first identified in the Rocky Mountains, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is most commonly found in the southeastern part of the United States. It also occurs in parts of Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.Early signs and symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever...
Although many people become ill within the first week after infection, signs and symptoms may not appear for up to 14 days. Initial signs and symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever often are nonspecific and can mimic those of other illnesses: 1. High fever 2. Chills 3. Severe headache 4. Muscle aches 5. Nausea and vomiting 6. Confusion or other neurological changes
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by infection with the organism Rickettsia rickettsii. Ticks carrying R. rickettsii are the most common source of infection.If an infected tick attaches itself to your skin and feeds on your blood for six to 10 hours, you may pick up the infection. But you may never see the tick on you.Rocky Mountain spotted fever primarily occurs when ticks are most active and during warm weather when people tend to spend more time outdoors. Rocky Mountain spotted fever...
Factors that may increase your risk of contracting Rocky Mountain spotted fever include: 1. Living in an area where the disease is common 2. The time of year — infections are more common in the spring and early summer 3. How much time you spend in grassy or wooded areas 4. Whether you have a dog or spend time with dogsIf an infected tick attaches to your skin, you can contract Rocky Mountain spotted fever when you remove it, as fluid from the tick can enter your body through an opening such a...
Rocky Mountain spotted fever damages the lining of your smallest blood vessels, causing the vessels to leak or form clots. This may cause: 1. Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). In addition to severe headaches, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause inflammation of the brain, which can cause confusion, seizures and delirium. 2. Inflammation of the heart or lungs. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause inflammation in areas of the heart and lungs. This can lead to heart failure or lung f...
You can decrease your chances of contracting Rocky Mountain spotted fever by taking some simple precautions: 1. Wear long pants and sleeves. When walking in wooded or grassy areas, wear shoes, long pants tucked into socks and long-sleeved shirts. Try to stick to trails and avoid walking through low bushes and long grass. 2. Use insect repellents. Products containing DEET (Off! Deep Woods, Repel) often repel ticks. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label. Clothing that has permethrin i...
Aug 28, 2018 · Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial infection spread by a bite from an infected tick. It causes vomiting, a sudden high fever around 102 or 103°F, headache, abdominal pain, rash, and...
- Jacquelyn Cafasso
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial disease spread by ticks. It typically begins with a fever and headache, which is followed a few days later with the development of a rash. The rash is generally made up of small spots of bleeding and starts on the wrists and ankles. Other symptoms may include muscle pains and vomiting.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever, (RMSF) is the most severe rickettsiosis in the United States. RMSF is a rapidly progressive disease and without early administration of doxycycline can be fatal within days. Signs and symptoms of RMSF begin 3-12 days after the bite of an infected tick.
- What Is It?
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Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a severe illness caused by tiny bacteria called Rickettsia rickettsii, which are transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. In the eastern United States and in California, the infected tick is usually Dermacentor variabilis, the American dog tick. In most of the western United States, the tick is more likely to be Dermacentor andersoni, the Rocky Mountain wood tick. Humans typically become infected in the spring and early summer. Once someone is bitten b...
Typically, symptoms begin 2 to 14 days after a tick bite, with an average of 1 week. During the first 3 days of symptoms, an infected person usually has a fever of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit and a severe headache. Muscle aches, nausea and vomiting are common. Between the 3rd and 5th day of fever, most people develop a rash, which usually begins on the wrists and ankles, then spreads to the arms, legs and trunk. In about two-thirds of patients, the rash also involves the palms of the han...
The classic features that may lead your doctor to suspect Rocky Mountain spotted fever are high fever, rash, headache, and a history of tick exposure, such as walking in a tick-infested area, within 14 days of developing the symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Only about 60% of patients recall being bitten by a tick. The early symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever are not specific, and diagnostic tests often are negative early in the disease. Therefore, if your doctor suspects that y...
Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever begin 2 to 14 days after a bite by an infected tick. Most cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever respond to appropriate antibiotic treatment within a week. Once symptoms develop, a person can die within 2 weeks without proper treatment.
Because there is no vaccine against Rocky Mountain spotted fever, the most effective way to prevent the illness is to avoid walking in wooded areas or fields where ticks are found. If you must walk in tick-infested areas, follow these precautions: 1. Wear light-colored clothing, which allows you to promptly identify a clinging tick. 2. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants that are snug around the wrists and ankles. 3. While you are outdoors, check yourself for ticks every two hours. 4. Use an a...
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is treated with one of the tetracycline drugs, usually doxycycline (sold as a generic), in adults and children over age 9. In general, tetracyclines should not be prescribed for pregnant women and children under the age of 9 because these antibiotics can permanently stain the teeth. However, doxycycline is the best available antibiotic to treat this potentially life threatening infection and is preferred if Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the likely diagnosis, des...
Call your doctor immediately if you develop fever, headaches and nausea, with or without a rash, after you have been bitten by a tick. Even if you don't remember being bitten, call your doctor if you develop these symptoms and you have walked recently in tick-infested areas.
Before effective antibiotics were available, 20% to 25% of people with Rocky Mountain spotted fever died. Now, however, only about 5% of patients die from this illness. Older patients have a slightly higher risk of death than younger ones, and males have a higher risk than females.
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- Clinical significance
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is an illness caused by infection with the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsia, which is transmitted by a bite from infected ticks.
The bacterium Rickettsia rickettsia that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. The primary vectors (the agents that transmit infection) for RMSF in the U.S. are the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus).
Early symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever usually occur about five to 10 days following the tick bite, and include fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, loss of appetite, and headache. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include rash, abdominal pain, joint pain, and diarrhea. The disease can be severe and most patients need to be hospitalized.
The disease was named Rocky Mountain spotted fever as the disease was first discovered in that part of the U.S., however there are few cases in that part of the country today. Most cases of RMSF in the U.S. occur in the southeastern part of the country, including Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The most cases of RMSF are found in North Carolina and Oklahoma. Other than Antarctica, RMSF can be found in nearly all parts of the world. The disease occurs seasonally, mostly from April through September in the US. While anyone can be infected, children under 10 years of age are at highest risk.
To diagnose Rocky Mountain spotted fever, three things a physician will look for are fever and rash, occurring a few days after a tick bite. One test for RMSF includes a biopsy of the skin rash, and another involves immunofluorescence staining of skin-tissue samples. Treatment usually begins immediately, even before test results come back, as the disease can progress rapidly.
Treatment for Rocky Mountain spotted fever includes a tetracycline (Achromycin) antibiotic, usually doxycycline (Vibramycin). This is taken per doctor's instructions until several days after the fever goes away and the patient starts to show signs of improvement. Most patients are treated for five to 10 days, even while waiting for lab test results to come back. To remove the tick, grasp it as close to the skin's surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist the tick as this may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens remove the remaining parts with tweezers. Contact your doctor if you are unable to remove remaining parts, or if illness occurs. Once the tick is removed, disinfect the bite with rubbing alcohol and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
It is believed that once a person is infected with R. rickettsia, the bacterium that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever, they will be immune to contracting it again. However, tick-preventive measures should always be taken, as ticks can transmit other diseases. The best way to reduce the chances of getting Rocky Mountain spotted fever is to limit exposure to ticks. If you live in a tick-infested area, promptly remove all crawling or attached ticks. It may take some time to transmit the disease from the tick to the host, so prompt removal is important. While you can't completely eliminate all exposure to ticks, the following slides discuss preventive measures that can be taken to protect yourself when in tick-infested environments. Wear light-colored clothing to allow you to more easily see ticks on your clothes. Keep ticks out by tucking your pant legs into your socks so ticks cannot crawl up your legs. Use repellants to discourage ticks from attaching to you. Permetrin is a repellant that can be sprayed on clothing and shoes that will last several days. DEET (n, n-diethyl-m-toluamide) is a repellant that can be applied directly to the skin, but only lasts a few hours. Use caution when applying DEET to children, as it may cause adverse reactions. Check with your child's pediatrician about what repellants to use safely on your child. Check your children and pets for ticks after you have been in a tick-infested area as both can carry ticks into the house that will attach to a person later. Pay special attention to their hair and remove any ticks promptly. Remove ticks safely. Use fine-tipped tweezers or specially-made notched tick extractors. Protect hands with paper towels or latex gloves. Do not remove ticks with bare hands. Never squeeze or crush the body of the tick because the fluids may contain the infectious bacterium. If the tick is accidentally crushed or punctured and tick fluids get on the skin, disinfect with rubbing alcohol or iodine. Limiting exposure to ticks remains the most effective way to prevent tickborne disease. However, application of acaricides (chemicals that kill ticks and mites) and control of tick habitats (for example, leaf litter and brush) have been effective in small-scale trials. Other methods being developed include applying acaricides to animal hosts by using baited tubes, boxes, and feeding stations in tick-infested areas. Fungi, parasitic nematodes, and parasitic wasps may also help with tick-control efforts. Community-based tick management strategies may be an effective public-health response to reduce the incidence of tick-borne infections.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is an infection caused by the bite of an infected tick. It affects over 2,000 people a year in the U.S. and usually occurs from April until September. But, it can occur anytime during the year where the weather is warm. It was first recognized in the Rocky Mountain states, but may occur throughout the U.S.
Most people who get sick with Rocky Mountain spotted fever will have a fever, headache, and rash. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most severe rickettsiosis in the United States and can be deadly if not treated early with the right antibiotic.
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