NC Infant Dies of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

July 12, 2013

american_dog_tickFederal health officials have confirmed a child in Asheville, NC died last month of Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services said this is the first confirmed death of Rocky Mountain Spotted fever in North Carolina since 2009. The disease is transmitted by the American Dog Tick, Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, and the brown dog tick. The disease is a bacterial infection and causes fever, fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle pain. A rash may also develop, but is often absent in the first few days, and in some patients, never develops.  Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be a severe or even fatal illness if not treated in the first few days of symptoms. Doxycycline is the first line treatment for adults and children of all ages, and is most effective if started before the fifth day of symptoms.   The initial diagnosis is made based on clinical signs and symptoms, and medical history, and can later be confirmed by using specialized laboratory tests.  The CDC warns to be extra vigilant against ticks in the summer months. Avoid high grass and leaf litter, and repel ticks with DEET.  Also Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.

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