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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the United States

06 Aug 2012

An increase in the incidence of Rocky Mountain spotted fever has been reported from the state of Tennessee in the southeast of the United States. The Health Department has recorded 304 cases of the tick-borne infection so far this year (2012), this compares with a total of 255 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever for the whole of 2011.

Advice for Travellers

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by a bacterium, Rickettsia rickettsii which is transmitted by Dermacentor ticks found on rodents and dogs. It is usually a mild disease but is occasionally life threatening. Risk is greatest for those undertaking outdoor activities in forest or grassland areas, such as walking and camping.

Travellers should take precautions against tick bites. The skin should be inspected daily for ticks and any ticks seen removed. If a rash is seen around the tick bite, medical advice should be sought.