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Rocky Mountain Spotted fever

Rocky Mountain Spotted fever Causes

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by a species of bacteria known as Rickettsia rickettsii, which is transmitted to humans by ixodid (hard) ticks.

Rocky Mountain Spotted fever Definition

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most severe form of rickettsial illness. It is most frequently reported in the USA, but has also been known to occur in Central and South America.

Rocky Mountain Spotted fever Diagnosis

Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be diagnosed based on a triad of clinical presentations: fever, rash, and history of tick bite. However, this triad is not always evident during initial examination. The rash itself is a more indicative sign, showing an inward spread pattern described as “centripetal”; i.e. beginning at the extremities and spreading towards the trunk. However, the rash only manifests 2-5 days after the onset of fever. Diagnosis for Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be difficult in the early stages of the disease. However, if undiagnosed and treated early, it can be fatal for affected humans.

Rocky Mountain Spotted fever Symptoms and Signs

Rocky Mountain spotted fever commonly presents with nausea, fever, muscle pain, appetite loss, emesis and severe headache at the onset. These initial symptoms are then followed by the development of rashes (both maculopapular and petechial) along with abdominal and joint pain.

Rocky Mountain Spotted fever Treatment

If Rocky Mountain spotted fever is suspected, appropriate antibiotics must be administered immediately, as the disease can be fatal. In severe cases, affected patients will require longer antibiotic treatment before the fever can be cured, especially if multiple organ systems have been damaged. Common pharmacological interventions include the use of doxycycline and chloramphenicol.

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