What Is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Symptoms and Treatment

Photo of author

By Admin

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial disease transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. The general symptoms can be mild to moderate but can be deadly if not treated with antibiotics and necessary medicines.

It is thought to be the most serious tick-borne illness in the United States. This disease can also affect the internal organs if not treated on time. In this article, we bring you the symptoms and treatment of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Symptoms

Symptoms of RMSF show up between two and 14 days after getting bitten by an infected tick. Common symptoms usually include:

  • high fever, which may persist for a couple of weeks
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • lack of appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • rash with small red spots on the wrists, palms, ankles, and soles of the feet

These symptoms are usually confused with flu symptoms and hence can be difficult to identify for diagnostic purposes. Some people do not develop skin rashes at all.

Antibiotic treatment is crucial to deal with bacterial infection (Image via Unsplash Towfiqu Barbhuiya)

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Treatment

Doxycycline is the recommended antibiotic treatment for RMSF in adults and children of all ages. It should only be administered as prescribed by a registered doctor at the proper dosage and intervals.

Antibiotics are usually prescribed for a few days and the schedule must be completed as per the prescription. A nutritious diet must be followed along with antibiotic treatment for rapid recovery.

Rocky Mountain Tick

Rocky Mountain Wood ticks are similar to American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) in appearance and size. They are found predominantly in shrublands, lightly wooded areas, open grasslands, and northwest Pacific regions.

They also transmit Colorado tick fever virus (CTFV) to humans, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) rickettsia (Rickettsia rickettsii) to humans, cats, and dogs. Their saliva might also occasionally contain a deadly neurotoxin that can cause tick paralysis in humans and pets.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs

This bacteria can also affect dogs and cats apart from humans. The symptoms are usually similar and the ticks might live inside the pet’s body hair. Antibiotic treatment with the proper advice of a veterinary doctor along with the topical application of certain drugs can help with tick infections.

These ticks can also infect dogs and cats (Image via Unsplash/Daniele Franchi)

How to Prevent Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

If you are traveling to wooded areas or similar places, follow these easy tips to prevent tick bites:

  • Avoid densely wooded areas whenever possible.
  • Mow lawns, rake leaves and trim trees to ward off ticks.
  • Wear full trousers and full-sleeved clothes.
  • Wear sneakers or boots.
  • Wear light-colored clothing. Ticks usually get attracted to dark colors.
  • Apply insect repellants. Permethrin can be applied to clothes but not on the skin.
  • Check for ticks when traveling through these areas.
  • Scrub your body well in the shower. Sweat can attract ticks.

If you experience any itching or rashes on your skin, consult a doctor at the earliest for proper diagnosis and treatment. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be prevented with proper medical intervention at the early stage.

Quick Links

More from Sportskeeda

Leave a Comment