A disease caused by bacteria in ticks, the Rocky Mountain spotted fever is among the serious infections in the country. One of the main characteristics of the illness is a fever of between 102 to 103°F with abdominal pain and headache. A patient with Rocky Mountain spotted fever needs immediate medical help. Why? This is because the infection can damage his internal organs. It can result in death if the patient does not receive treatment the fastest way possible.
The best way to save oneself from the disease is to avoid tick bites or by getting rid of the tick immediately. Let us learn more about this serious bacterial infection. It is best to start with identifying its symptoms. Afterward, we will proceed with the diagnosis and treatments.
What Are the Different Indications of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?
High fever that could last for three weeks is the most common symptom of this illness. Chills, muscle aches, headache, and severe fatigue are also seen in patients with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Other symptoms to observe are nausea and vomiting. Some patients with this disease also report poor appetite and abdominal pain.
Rashes on the soles, ankles, wrists, and palms are visible in patients. The red spots will start to appear around two to five days of the onset of ever. The appearance of purple-red rashes shows that the bacterial infection is beginning to progress.
What Are the Challenges With Diagnosing Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?
Medical professionals, even the experts, have a hard time detecting the infection patients. This is because its signs are similar to flu and other diseases. Experts also have trouble detecting the illness because only around 50% of patients recall having tick bites.
How is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Transmitted?
Ticks with Rickettsia rickettsii bacteria are the culprit for this disease. They spread the infection through bites. It starts with the lymphatic system and grows in the patient’s cells.
There are several tick types and not all of them can cause the disease. Known carriers of the infection are the Rocky Mountain wood tick and the brown dog tick. American dog tick can also transmit the bacterial infection. Researchers reveal that the chances of having the disease increase as the tick stays longer on your skin.
The transmission of the infection can only happen between tick and another organism, animal or human. It is impossible to transmit the disease from one human to another.
What Are the Common Effective Treatments?
The bacterial infection affects all ages. There are several ways to treat a patient with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. One of the most common treatments is the use of the antibiotic doxycycline. Chloramphenicol may be helpful for pregnant women with this disease.
Medical professionals urge patients to start the medications as soon as they suspect the infection. This is way before they get the results of their laboratory tests. This is because their chances of survival decrease as the days pass by.
Patients who only receive medical help five days after the onset of the disease may need intravenous antibiotics. Hospitalization is also possible if the complications and the infections become severe. This is for the reason that medical experts need to monitor the fluids that the patients receive daily.
Rocky Mountain Fever Long-term Impact
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious disease that is why late diagnosis can result to complications. The long-term complications will be serious and may be detrimental to the health stability of patients. Meningitis, seizures and coma are among the alarming complications of the bacterial infection.
Heart and lung inflammation are also to observe in patients with this disease. Other serious complications are gangrene, kidney failure and liver enlargement. In worst cases, the disease can also result to patient’s death.
Meanwhile for patients who had late treatments, neurological deficits and deafness are expected. They can also suffer from partial paralysis and muscle weakness.
The disease is not prevalent in the U.S. This is so rare that only six of a million patients have this bacterial infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 2,000 incidences of the disease annually. Those who are in grassy and wooded places are at risk of the infection. Same goes with those who have regular contacts with pets like dogs.
The Rocky Mountain spotted fever is not that widespread, but there are places where it is prevalent. Among these are those in the country’s southeastern area such as Central America, South America, Mexico, and Canada. The CDC also mentions that the infection is high in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
How Serious Is the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?
The bacterial infection is among the most serious medical conditions in the U.S. This disease can be fatal. Reports from medical groups state that less than 1% of patients die from this fever. Parents should also closely monitor their kids with this disease. This is because children ages below 10 years have fewer chances of survival than adults.
Among the most common precautionary measures is to remove ticks instantly and not be bitten by ticks. You can also save yourself and your family from this infection by not going into densely wooded areas. If you really need to go to grassy and wooded places, wearing boots and tucking in your shirt into pants and the pants into the socks will really help.
Another helpful tip is to apply lotions or oils or ointments that have DEET, permethrin or any form of insect repellant. It is also best to wear white clothes. This way you can spot ticks onto your shirts or pants easily. Check your clothes and body from time to time to remove any ticks that could have bitten you. As soon as you go home it is also essential to scrub and shower to remove ticks that might have gotten onto your skin.