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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

A bacteria called rickettsia rickettsii is responsible for the disease called Rocky Mountain Spotted fever .This is the most difficult tick-borne rickettsial disease.

This condition is believed to be seasonal as many cases get reported all over US particularly through the months of April to September. Also it is observed that more than 50% of these cases are in the South-Atlantic part of the US namely Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, North Carolina, Washington D.C., Virginia, Delaware and Maryland. Within these regions itself, the main places which are affected heavily with this disease are Oklahoma and North Carolina. Even though this condition got its name as it was first reported from the Rocky Mountain area. Now, this area is not that much risk prone.

The diagnosis of this condition is based on its different symptoms and lab tests. Some causes of this disease are a low count of blood platelets, increased amount of liver enzymes and low level of sodium in the blood.

Once the infection happens, it may take 2-14 days for the initial symptoms to surface. Some of them are myalgia,  high fever, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. The rash is generally seen 3-5 days after the onset of fever. The rash first appears on the ankles and wrists and later it spreads to soles of feet, palms of hands, trunk, forearms, buttocks, facial areas and the neck. It will initially appear as minute, flat pink spots and then become raised lesions merging into patches. Remember that if the blood becomes deficient of oxygen, tissue necrosis can also result. Keep in mind that administration of antibiotics and hospitalization may also be required as a part of treatment.

You are highly recommended to take extreme care in avoiding this condition. But it will be unrealistic to try to activities that may result in tick exposure. Hence, the importance should be given to personal safety when going to tick-infested areas.

  1. It will be easy to see the ticks crawling on your clothing if you wear light-coloured clothing.
  2. Fold your pant legs up so that ticks cannot creep into your pant legs.
  3. Use repellents to avoid ticks.
  4. Examine your body closely using a mirror and remove any tick you find.
  5. Remember to check the children's hair if they happen to go to any tick-infested areas. Make very sure everyone is completely free of any ticks before entering the house.

If you are successful in limiting your contact with ticks, it will dramatically reduce the risk of infection with Rocky Mountain spotted fever too.  The main preventive measure you can take if you happened to live in a tick-infested habitat is to carefully inspect and remove any attached ticks. Also, remember that it may take prolonged attachment time before organisms are transferred from the tick to the host. So, if you religiously follow the above measures you could actually save a life.


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