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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is an infection caused by the bite of an infected tick. It affects about 250 to 1200 people a year in the US and usually occurs from April until October, but it can occur anytime during the year where weather is warm. The mid-Atlantic and southeastern states are most affected. The disease is spread to humans from contact with the tick; it is not spread from one person to another.

What are the symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

The following are the most common symptoms of RMSF. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Death has occurred in untreated cases of RMSF.

The symptoms of RMSF may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How is RMSF diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on symptoms and past history of a tick bite. The appearance and characteristics of the rash are important. Skin samples and lab tests are usually done to rule out other conditions and confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever:

Specific treatment for RMSF will be determined by your child's physician based on:

Treatment may include antibiotics and supportive care (care aimed at treating the symptoms present).

How can Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever be prevented?

Once a child has RMSF, he/she cannot be re-infected. Some general guidelines for preventing RMSF include the following:

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