Spotted fever [tick-borne rickettsioses] digital illustration

Spotted fever [tick-borne rickettsioses] Save

ICD-10 code: A77

Chapter: Certain infectious and parasitic diseases

Understanding Spotted Fever, a Tick-Borne Rickettsiosis

Spotted fever is a group of tick-borne diseases caused by various species of Rickettsia bacteria. These diseases are transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks, primarily the American dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick.

In the United States, the most common type of spotted fever is Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), which is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii. This disease is prevalent in the southeastern and south-central regions of the country, with most cases occurring between April and September.

Early symptoms of RMSF include fever, headache, muscle pain, and rash. If left untreated, the disease can lead to severe complications such as kidney failure, respiratory failure, and even death. Therefore, it's crucial to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you have been infected with RMSF.

Other types of spotted fevers include:

  1. North Asian tick-borne rickettsiosis (caused by Rickettsia sibirica)
  2. Mediterranean spotted fever (caused by Rickettsia conorii)
  3. Australian spotted fever (caused by Rickettsia australis)
  4. Boutonneuse fever (caused by Rickettsia africae)

Preventing tick bites is the best way to avoid getting infected with spotted fever. Here are some tips:

  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers your arms and legs
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET
  • Check your body and clothing for ticks after spending time outdoors
  • Shower within two hours of coming indoors to wash off any unattached ticks

If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove it immediately using fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. After removing the tick, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

In conclusion, spotted fever is a serious illness that can be prevented by taking precautions to avoid tick bites. If you develop symptoms of RMSF, seek medical attention immediately to receive prompt treatment and avoid complications.