Patient Comments: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Symptoms

What were your signs and symptoms associated with RMSF?

Comment from: traveler, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 18

I had severe headaches, loss of appetite, and extreme fatigue. After feeling something in my head, my initial test for Lyme disease and RMSF were negative. (I was prescribed doxycycline, thank goodness). I continued to feel like I was in poor health and persuaded my doctor to run another panel for the diseases, the 2nd RMSF test came back positive.

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Comment from: outdoors, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 14

I discovered red rash that grew over 5 to 7 days. Approximately 5 to 7 long red, oval, bumpy, itchy, raised rashes. I woke up on day 5 with severe headache, confusion, joint pain, severe vertigo and high blood pressure. I had no fever, but a spotty rash. I was misdiagnosed for over 4 weeks and all tests were negative for Lyme. After 2 emergency room visits it was finally discovered by infectious disease doctor. Too Late, I did 2 rounds of antibiotics. I have permanent brain lesions and dead areas. One year later, I still have headaches, dizziness, memory problems and fatigue.

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Comment from: Vernon, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 08

I had severe flu like symptoms on March 2008. I was wiped out. My fever peaked at 104 three days after the first symptoms. By 5 days, my neck hurt so bad I could not sleep. I could not move it. Excruciating pain. The doctor's diagnosis was post viral syndrome. A shot, Valium, and painkillers made it better. The next morning, the pain was back. I had to hold my head to sit up. This went on for five months. I had severe knee pain one day, and severe hip pain the next day, and bouts of severe diarrhea. I felt buzzing all over my body, and in my brain. I saw doctor after doctor. I told them I had a tick bite. I slowly recovered. Five months later, I could not move my legs right and I was not able to move fast. I was falling. Vertigo. I've fallen hundreds of times. I started having severe back pain. Three MRIs showed bulging discs, but no nerve impingement. I almost could not walk and had severe pain. Nerve conduction studies showed neuropathy in both legs. I had muscle pain in both legs, very tight. I couldn't use stairs without a railing, had muscle weakness, pain went to my knees and hips. I thought it was Lyme's disease. Test came back RMSF. I had positive IgG for rickettsia. The gold standard is 1:64 titer by IFA. That was negative. I had one round of doxycycline, which is not enough to clear a chronic infection. I was referred to a rheumatologist. I still have not been treated. I started taking 2000 mg of vitamin C, and my back, knees, and hips are better. I need the full course of antibiotics.

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Comment from: pollyana stanley, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

My case started with a fever and severe body ache. I have no recollection of a tick bite. Within 3 days I developed a flat rash on my stomach and lower legs that looked like I'd been sand-blasted. Nausea and fatigue began about that time too. The headache and confusion started about Day 5...the day I was diagnosed and started Doxycycline. I had elevated liver function, lower platelets, and low white blood cell count. This is Day 12 and the fever is gone but I'm still feeling very weak.

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Comment from: shorty62, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 28

My daughter died from RMSF 16 days after her 6th birthday, in June of 2008. One symptom that is not mentioned is low platelet count. Your platelets are supposed to be in the 100,000s, and hers were 17,000 – yet the doctor still did nothing. Once we got her to the children's hospital, they didn't give her the treatment she needed until she died and they put her on life support. Also, a tick doesn't have to bite. Sick ticks are too weak to attach themselves. If they crawl across a sore or scratch, then the disease can get into your system. In over 50% of cases, a tick has not been seen or found. So, be very careful and demand the medicine if you have the symptoms.

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Comment from: Carolina, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 06

I got a tick bite 10 days before my symptoms appeared. I had many symptoms, including a high fever, over 103 F (39.4 C), headache, stiff neck, bloodshot eyes, sensitivity to light, no appetite, fatigue, confusion, rash on my back and chest that was flat pink and was not itchy, and raised liver enzymes. I was prescribed doxycycline, which got my temperature back to normal after three days.

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Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Location Question: Please share your experience with RMSF, including the region in which you contracted it.
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?

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