According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is one of the most severe tick-borne illnesses in the US.
The American dog tick and Rocky Mountain wood tick are the primary transmitters of the disease, which is most common from April to September in the south-Atlantic states; the highest incidence is reported in North Carolina and Oklahoma. Even though the first cases were reported in the Rocky Mountain region, the illness is rare in this area today.
Nausea and vomiting
Lack of appetite
More advanced symptoms include rash, abdominal pain, joint pain and diarrhea. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be a very serious illness and the majority of people who get it are hospitalized.
Diagnosis and treatment
If you exhibit any symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which usually occur five to 10 days after a tick bite, see your doctor immediately. Diagnosis of the illness is confirmed by blood, urine and/or skin tests. A round of antibiotics is frequently prescribed for confirmed cases of the disease.
Outdoor activities during the warmer months and having outdoor pets increase your risk of exposure to ticks carrying the bacterium for Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
You can reduce your risk of a tick bite by:
Walking on cleared trails away from vegetation.
Using an insect repellant on exposed skin and clothing.
Wearing light colored long pants, long sleeved shirts, and high boots when hiking or in tall grass.
Tucking pant cuffs into socks or high boots.
Checking your clothing and pets during and after outdoor activities.
A very small percentage of ticks actually carry the bacterium for Rocky Mountain spotted fever. However, since the advanced stage complications of Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be life threatening, get in to see your doctor as soon as any symptoms occur.