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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Picture-Characteristic spotted rash of late stage Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Characteristic rash of late-stage Rocky Mountain spotted fever on legs of a patient, ca. 1946
(photo provided courtesy of Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton, Montana)

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most severe and most frequently reported rickettsial illness in the United States. It also occurs in Mexico and in Central and South America. The disease is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, a species of bacteria that is spread to humans by ixodid (hard) ticks. Initial signs and symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. The disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and without prompt and appropriate treatment it can be fatal.

This web site presents a general overview of Rocky Mountain spotted fever; more detailed information can be found in References and Resources.

Date last reviewed: 05/20/2005

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bullet Case Report Form Adobe Acrobat Reader
(1.2 MB, 3 pages)
Tick-Borne Rickettsial Disease Case Report. Use for reporting cases of RMS, HME, and HGE.
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