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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the United States

12 Apr 2012

An outbreak of Rocky Mountain spotted fever has been reported from southern Gila County in the state of Arizona.

So far, 8 cases have been identified this season. In 2011, a sharp increase in cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever was noted in Arizona with 54 cases and 11 deaths in three counties including Gila County. Officials predict a surge of cases when temperatures rise between April and September when ticks are most active.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is transmitted to humans by infected common brown dog ticks. Health officials are advising residents to treat their dogs for ticks and to inspect both themselves and their pets following outdoor activities. The infection is more common at higher elevations.

Advice for Travellers

Travellers to Arizona during the spring and summer months should be aware of the risk of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and take steps to avoid tick bites. Early removal of ticks is important and the skin should be inspected after outdoor activities.