Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease that is caused by an organism called as Rickettsia rickettsii, which infects ticks throughout their lifetime and is passed on to the next generation of ticks.
Rodents and other animals can also have the infection, but generally do not show any kind of symptoms.
Who gets Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
Anyone who gets in contact with an infected tick and on whom the tick remains for many hours can get Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
In spite of its name, the disease is rarely seen in the Rocky Mountain region.
How is Rocky Mountain spotted fever spread?
- People get Rocky Mountain spotted fever from the bite of an infected tick.
- There is no evidence seen of natural person-to-person transmission however, there have been some cases reported in persons who extracted infected ticks from other people and in doing so, crushed the ticks and exposed themselves to infection from the tick.
How can Rocky Mountain spotted fever be prevented?
- Try to avoid tick infested areas, especially during the warmer months.
- Try to wear light colored clothing, so that the ticks can be easily seen.
- Try to wear a long sleeved shirt, hat, long pants, and tuck your pant legs into your socks.
- Try to walk in the center of trails to avoid overhanging grass and brush.
- Examine your body every few hours for ticks when you spend a lot of time outdoors in tick infested areas.
- Ticks are most often seen on the thigh, arms, under arms and legs.
- Ticks can be very tiny (no bigger than a pinhead).
- Carefully look for new “freckles.”
- Try to use insect repellents which contain “DEET” on your skin or permethrin on clothing.
- Make sure to follow the directions on the container and wash off repellents when going indoors.
- Remove attached ticks immediately.
What are the symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
The disease causes a range of moderate to high fever that may last for a long time if not treated.
Some of the other symptoms of the Rocky Mountain spotted fever can include:
- Severe headache
- Body aches
- In more than half of the cases, a red raised rash is seen on the arms and legs, particularly on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and then spreads to the trunk.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be dangerous if not treated properly.