Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (cont.)

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What is the treatment for Rocky Mountain spotted fever in children and adults?

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RMSF is treated with antibiotics, usually from the tetracycline class. Doxycycline is the most commonly recommended antibiotic for this purpose and is usually taken orally twice a day for seven days. An intravenous form is available for patients who are unable to tolerate the oral form.

Special comment should be made for one population in need of treatment: children. Doxycycline is not used routinely in young children (< 8 years of age) because it might cause staining of teeth, but this almost never occurs with a limited one-week course. Since the risk is minor compared to the potential severity of RMSF, both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend doxycycline for all children with RMSF. Similarly, doxycycline is usually not given to pregnant women because of the potential effect of the drug on fetal bones and teeth. However, the risk must be weighed against the benefit of treatment on an individual basis. If a person cannot take doxycycline, there are other possible choices, including an older agent called chloramphenicol. Chloramphenicol also has toxicities. Use of alternative agents or treatment during pregnancy warrants consultation with a specialist experienced in the area.

What are complications of Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

Complications of RMSF include kidney failure, neurological problems, bleeding, gangrene, and death. Most patients with a diagnosis of RMSF are hospitalized and severe cases require intensive care. Death occurs in approximately 0.5%-5% of treated cases and up to 20% of untreated cases.

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?