Disease Name

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Vector Information

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. Infections are potentially fatal to humans if not treated early. This disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is preventable, if simple steps are taken to reduce exposure to ticks.

Symptoms of infection include fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle pain. A rash may sometimes develop, but occurs several days after infection and may never develop in some people. Symptoms typically occur 2-14 days after the bite of an infected tick. Treatment of Rocky Mountain spotted fever is most effective if treatment is started within 5 days of infection. If treatment does not occur within 8 days, the disease can turn fatal. Diagnosis must be made by a physician and is based on clinical signs and symptoms, medical history, and specialized laboratory tests. Severe cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever may result in hospitalization and long-term effects such bleeding and clotting issues, loss of circulation to extremities.  Rocky Mountain spotted fever is easily treated if diagnosed early. There are currently no preventative vaccines or medications.