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  1. May 07, 2019 · Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial disease spread through the bite of an infected tick. Most people who get sick with RMSF will have a fever, headache, and rash. RMSF can be deadly if not treated early with the right antibiotic. Transmission. Signs and Symptoms.

    • Overview
    • Symptoms
    • Causes
    • Risk Factors
    • Complications
    • Prevention

    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 include a severe headache and high fever. A few days later, a rash usually appears on the wrists and ankles. Rocky Mountain spotted fever responds well to prompt treatment with antibiotics.

    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 cannot be spread from person to person.

    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 dogs If 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 as the bite site. You can reduce your risk of infection by taking steps to prevent exposure to ticks and tick fluids. When removing a tick from your skin: 1. Use a tweezers to grasp the tick near its head or mouth and remove it carefully 2. Treat the tick as if it's contaminated; soak it in alcohol or flush it down the toilet 3. Clean the bite area with antiseptic 4. Wash your hands thoroughly

    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 failure in severe cases. 3. Kidney failure.Your kidneys filter waste from your blood, and the blood vessels within the kidneys are very small and fragile. Damage to these vessels can eventually result in kidney failure. 4. Serious infection, possibly amputation.Some of your smallest blood vessels are in your fingers and toes. If these vessels don't work properly, the tissue at your farthest extremities may develop gangrene and die. Amputation would then be necessary. 5. Death.Untreated, Rocky Mount...

    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 impregnated into the fabric is toxic to ticks and also may be helpful in decreasing tick contact when outdoors. 3. Do your best to tick-proof your yard.Clear brush and leaves where ticks live. Keep woodpiles in sunny areas. 4. Check yourself and your pets for ticks.Do this after being in wooded or grassy areas. Some ticks are no bigger than the head of a pin, so you may not discover them unless you are very careful. 5. Remove a tick with tweezers. Gently grasp the tick near its head or mouth. Don't...

  2. Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is an infectious disease that belongs to a group of diseases known as the spotted fever group rickettsioses. It is caused by infection with the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii (R. rickettsii), which is usually transmitted by a tick bite. When introduced into the body, the bacterium spreads by the bloodstream ...

  3. What is Rocky Mountain spotted fever? Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a bacterial disease spread through the bite of an infected tick. 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 ...

    • Causes
    • Symptoms
    • Exams and Tests
    • Treatment
    • Possible Complications
    • When to Contact A Medical Professional
    • Prevention
    • References

    RMSF is caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii (R Rickettsii), which is carried by ticks. The bacteria spread to humans through a tickbite. In the western United States, the bacteria are carried by the wood tick. In the eastern US, they are carried by the dog tick. Other ticks spread the infection in the southern US and in Central and South America. Contrary to the name "Rocky Mountain," most recent cases have been reported in the eastern US. States include North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Most cases occur in the spring and summer and are found in children. Risk factors include recent hiking or exposure to ticks in an area where the disease is known to occur. The bacteria are unlikely to be transmitted to a person by a tick that has been attached for less than 20 hours. Only about 1 in 1,000 wood and dog ticks carry the bacteria. Bacteria can also infect people who crush ticks they have removed from pets with their bare fingers.

    Symptoms usually develop about 2 to 14 days after the tick bite. They may include: 1. Chills and fever 2. Confusion 3. Headache 4. Muscle pain 5. Rash -- usually starts a few days after the fever; first appears on wrists and ankles as spots that are 1 to 5 mm in diameter, then spreads to most of the body. Some infected people don't get a rash. Other symptoms that may occur with this disease: 1. Diarrhea 2. Light sensitivity 3. Hallucinations 4. Loss of appetite 5. Nausea and vomiting 6. Abdominal pain 7. Thirst

    The health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask about the symptoms. Tests that may be done include: 1. Antibody titer by complementfixation or immunofluorescence 2. Complete blood count(CBC) 3. Kidney function tests 4. Partial thromboplastin time (PTT) 5. Prothrombin time (PT) 6. Skin biopsy taken from the rash to check for R rickettsii 7. Urinalysis to check for blood or protein in the urine

    Treatment involves carefully removing the tick from the skin. To get rid of the infection, antibiotics such as doxycycline or tetracycline need to be taken. Pregnant women are usually prescribed chloramphenicol.

    Untreated, the infection may lead to health problems such as: 1. Brain damage 2. Clotting problems 3. Heart failure 4. Kidney failure 5. Lung failure 6. Meningitis 7. Pneumonitis (lung inflammation) 8. Shock

    Call your provider if you develop symptoms after exposure to ticks or a tick bite. The complications of untreated RMSF are often life threatening.

    When walking or hiking in tick-infested areas, tuck long pants into socks to protect the legs. Wear shoes and long-sleeved shirts. Ticks will show up on white or light colors better than on dark colors, making them easier to see and remove. Remove ticks immediately by using tweezers, pulling carefully and steadily. Insect repellent may be helpful. Because far fewer than 1% of ticks carry this infection, antibiotics are not usually given after a tick bite.

    Blanton LS, Walker DH. Rickettsia rickettsii and other spotted fever group rickettsiae (Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other spotted fevers). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 186. Bolgiano EB, Sexton J. Tickborne illnesses. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 126.

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  5. Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is the most severe tick-borne rickettsial illness in the United States. There are 250 to 1200 cases reported annually in the US. It is a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia ricketsii . Most cases of RMSF occur in the southeastern and south central United States.

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