Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

This is a bacterial infection which is transmitted by tick. It can lead to serious damage to internal organ like kidney and heart  if not given prompt treatment. It is mostly common in the southern parts of United States.


Many people become ill in the duration of first week after infection. Signs and symptoms usually doesn’t appear for upto 14 days. Symptoms of rocky mountain spotted fever are:Rocky Mountain Spotted SYMPTOMS CAUSES TREATMENT

  • High grade fever
  • Chills
  • Intense headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Confusion
  • Distinctive rashes which are red and non itchy. Rashes appear 3-5 days after initial signs and symptoms

Rocky mountain spotted fever is due to the infection caused by Rickettsia rickettsii. The most common source of infection is ticks carrying R. rickettsi. Infected tick attaches itself to the skin and feed on the blood for six to 10 hours, it’s likely to pick infection. Tick may never be visible on skin to the patient. This fever usually occur during warm weather when ticks are most active. This is not a contagious fever.


Complications of rocky mountain spotted fever are:

  • Encephalitis
  • Inflammation of heart or lungs
  • Kidney failure
  • Serious infection may lead to amputation
  • Death

Diagnosis of this condition is difficult because the signs and symptoms mimic other conditions as well. Usually laboratory test to check the blood, general physical examination for checking the evidence of tick and rash specimen can be taken for checking the evidence of organism.


Treatment options include:

  • The most effective treatment for rocky mountain fever is Doxycycline (Monodox, Vibramycin, others). But it’s avoided in pregnant ladies
  • For pregnant women chloramphenicol is given as alternative
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