Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (cont.)

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What is Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans through the bite of a tick. Statistics show that rates of disease have been rising steadily over the past decade. Although most people recover completely, fatalities occur in approximately 0.5%-5% of cases.

Where do most cases of RMSF occur in the U.S.?

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Cases of RMSF have been reported from most areas of the country, and the disease is not restricted to the Rocky Mountain region. In fact, Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee account for over 60% of reported cases. In 2008, there were approximately 2,500 cases reported in the U.S., which is more than twice as many cases as were reported annually in the 1990s.

Reported incidence of RMSF per million people in 2008
Reported incidence of RMSF per million people in 2008; NN=not reported. SOURCE: CDC.

What is the history of Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

RMSF was first described in the late 1800s in the Snake River Valley of Idaho. Initially, cases were thought to be confined to the Rocky Mountain area, but by the early 20th century, it was obvious that the disease occurred in areas throughout the country. Dr. Howard Ricketts identified the causative organism in the blood of infected people and showed that ticks could transmit the organism. Many other scientists worked to identify the characteristics of the disease and the tick vector, but it was not until the middle of the 20th century that an effective treatment was discovered. Many of the early researchers died of tick-borne infections while studying the disease.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2014

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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Location Question: Please share your experience with RMSF, including the region in which you contracted it.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Symptoms Question: What were your signs and symptoms associated with RMSF?
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Diagnosis Question: What tests or methods were used to detect and diagnose your case of RMSF?
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment or medication did you receive for RMSF?
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Prevention Question: If you live in a region with ticks or previous outbreaks of RMSF, how do you try to prevent it?