Rocky Mountain spotted fever is an illness caused by
an organism called Rickettsia rickettsii, which infects
ticks throughout their lifetime and is passed on to
the next generation of ticks.
Rodents and other
animals may also have the infection, but usually do
not show symptoms.
Who gets Rocky Mountain spotted fever?
Anyone who is bitten by an infected tick and on
whom the tick remains for several hours can get
Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
In spite of its name,
the disease is rarely seen in the Rocky Mountain
region; most cases are reported from eastern and
central states such as:
North and South Carolina
How is Rocky Mountain spotted fever spread?
People get Rocky Mountain spotted fever from the
bite of an infected tick.
There is no evidence of
natural person-to-person transmission; however, there have been cases reported in persons who
removed infected ticks from other people and in
doing so, crushed the ticks and exposed themselves
to infection from the tick.
What are the symptoms of Rocky Mountain
The disease causes moderate to high fever that may
last a long time if not treated.
In about half of the cases, a red, raised rash appears on
the arms and legs, particularly on the palms of the
hands and soles of the feet, and then spreads to the
Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be fatal if
not treated promptly.
How soon do symptoms usually appear?
The symptoms begin between 3 to 14 days after the
Is there a treatment for Rocky Mountain
Antibiotics may be prescribed by a physician
How should a tick be removed?
Ticks should be removed promptly and carefully by
using tweezers and applying gentle steady traction.
Do not crush the tick's body when removing it and
apply the tweezers as close to the skin as possible to
avoid leaving tick mouthparts in the skin.
remove ticks with your bare hands.
hands with gloves, cloth, or tissue and be sure to
wash your hands after removing a tick.
How can Rocky Mountain spotted fever be
Avoid tick infested areas, especially during the
Wear light colored clothing so ticks can be easily
Wear a long sleeved shirt, hat, long pants,
and tuck your pant legs into your socks.
Walk in the center of trails to avoid overhanging
grass and brush.
Check your body every few hours for ticks when
you spend a lot of time outdoors in tick infested
Ticks are most often found on the thigh,
arms, underarms and legs.
Ticks can be very
small (no bigger than a pinhead).
for new “freckles.”
Use insect repellents containing “DEET” on your
skin or permethrin on clothing.
Be sure to follow
the directions on the container and wash off repellents when going indoors.
Remove attached ticks immediately.
Where can I get more information?
Contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.