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Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a tick-borne illness that can be painful and deadly.

If you’ve been bitten by an infected tick, symptoms typically begin 2-14 days after the bite.

The disease first presents itself as a fever and a headache.  Approximately 2-5 days after the fever presents, a rash will likely occur.

Other symptoms include: 
Abdominal pain (may mimic appendicitis or other causes of acute abdominal pain)
Muscle pain
Lack of appetite
Conjunctival injection (red eyes)

*”it is important to note that few people with the disease will develop all symptoms, and the number and combination of symptoms varies greatly from person to person,” the CDC states.

Rocky Mountain Spotted fever is a serious illness. It can be fatal in the first 8 days of symptoms if the infected has not been treated correctly.

Approximately 90% of people with RMSF will develop a rash (6 days after the first symptoms appeared), though a small percentage do not develop the spotty, red/purple rash.

“The red to purple, spotted (petechial) rash of RMSF is usually not seen until the sixth day or later after onset of symptoms and occurs in 35-60% of patients with the infection. This is a sign of progression to severe disease, and every attempt should be made to begin treatment before petechiae develop,” the CDC states.

“A classic case of RMSF involves a rash that first appears 2-5 days after the onset of fever as small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots (macules) on the wrists, forearms, and ankles and spreads to include the trunk and sometimes the palms and soles.  Often the rash varies from this description and people who fail to develop a rash, or develop an atypical rash, are at increased risk of being misdiagnosed,” the CDC states.





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