Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (cont.)

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What is the prognosis of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in children and adults?

Most people with RMSF recover completely over a few weeks. People with severe neurological symptoms may have residual difficulty with balance during walking (ataxia) and blindness.

How can people safely remove a tick?

A tick can be removed by grasping it with tweezers very close to the skin and pulling gently. Avoid squeezing/crushing the main tick body to limit the opportunity to eject infected secretions. Do not use nail polish, petroleum jelly, or heat to try to make the tick drop off.

Can Rocky Mountain spotted fever be prevented?

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The risk of RMSF can be reduced by avoiding areas where ticks are common. If a person does go into such an area, protective clothing including socks, long pants, and long sleeves will reduce that area of skin available for a tick. Insect repellents containing DEET reduce the risk of tick bites. The risk of disease increases with the duration of tick attachment, so the body should be checked carefully for ticks after returning from an outing. Because most ticks are not infected, doxycycline is not recommended after a tick bite in a person who has no symptoms.

Where can people find more information on Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

The CDC is an excellent source of information on RMSF, available online at

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Diagnosis and Management of Tickborne Rickettsial Diseases: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichioses, and Anaplasmosis -- United States." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 55(RR04) (2006): 1-27.

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?