Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Disease - Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a severe and life-threatening disease carried and transmitted to animals and humans by infected ticks (through bites). Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a Rickettsial illness that is not solely found in numerous states of America, but also in Southern Canada, Europe, Africa and Australia (global). Other names used for Rickettsial illnesses around the world are tick Typhus (UK, Australia), Tobia fever (Colombia) and Sao Paulo fever (Brazil). This disease is transmitted by Dermacentor ticks (D.Variabilis - American dog tick and D.Andersoni - Rocky Mountain wood tick). In Africa, ticks are associated more with wild game animals, whereas in Europe, America and Australia, rodents and dog ticks are the common carriers.

Cattle, pets and humans can catch Rocky Mountain spotted fever as a result of being bitten by an infected tick. Female adult ticks are able to pass it on in their eggs, so larvae and nymphs can carry the disease also, making it almost impossible to control. As larvae and nymphs feed off small animals such as mice, rats, squirrels, badgers, foxes and other smaller rodents, they can become infected, as well as larger mammals which the adults target, such as dogs, deer, goats and sheep (and humans). The cycle is then maintained, as any other tick not affected may feed off an infected host. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can also be passed from one tick to another when mating, and once infected a tick can carry the disease for the remainder of its life.

rocky spotted mountain fever tick

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is recorded mostly during tick season. However, what with increasingly warmer climates, it is possible to be infected all year round. Signs and Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in humans could initially be rashes, fevers, headaches, nausea and muscle pains. These signs can show within two weeks of an infected bite. There are also long term problems that could occur as a result of an infection if it goes untreated, such as hearing loss, paralysis and problems with speech. For dogs, Rocky Mountain spotted fever symptoms could include fevers, pain in their joints, a loss of appetite, depression, pneumonia, low white cell blood count, seizures as well as problems with their eyes.

Spotted Rocky Mountain Fever

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Facts - It has been around for a long time and was named by Howard T Ricketts who identified the infection that caused the disease, in the early twentieth century. Back then, the disease was causing many deaths in humans as well as animals. Although we’ve moved forward 100 years, it remains lethal and still kills a very small percentage of people who contract it (3-5%).

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Nowadays, if diagnosis is quick, antibiotics can be administered as Rocky Mountain spotted fever treatment. However without swift treatment the disease could prove fatal. There aren’t any vaccinations against the infection, so prevention and control is important. If you live in an area where Rocky Mountain spotted fever is prevalent, always use tick repellents on you, your family and pets. Your property should be treated and maintained to make the environment unfriendly to ticks that may be infected. Keep pests and animals which could carry the disease (and ticks) out of your yard and away from the home. Put up fencing and fill holes where rodents could enter. Keep food and garbage sealed and don’t invite unwanted guests in. Ticks should be removed quickly and correctly - and if you do so, not with bare fingers as infections could occur as a result of burst ticks or exposure to their feces. If you are visiting areas where Rocky Mountain spotted fever is found on ticks in woods, grassy areas or thick scrub ensure you wear protective clothing and cover yourself in a good repellent.

Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved