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TICK-BORNE DISEASES

ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER (Rickettsiosis ) Tick Control, LLC

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever results from a bacterial infection from a tick bite. It’s part of the rickettsiosis family of diseases. The disease was first discovered in the Rocky Mountains in the United States in the 1800s, but is rarely found in this region of the country today. It’s more common in the Southeast and is not as prevalent in Northeastern states, but vectors of the infection have been discovered in Connecticut. 

Signs and Symptoms 

Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can start between 1 and 2 weeks after you’ve been bitten by an infected tick. These can include a high fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting. A rash might also develop with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which is very characteristic of the disease. 

The rash usually starts on your wrists and ankles, spreading outward toward your palms and up your arms or to the soles of your feet and up your legs. The rash isn’t itchy and either resembles splotches or pinpoint dots. Typically, the rash comes about 2-4 days after the high fever. 

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever doesn’t typically result in chronic infections and won’t stay in your system if treated on time. If untreated, however, health complications like conjunctivitis or joint pain can result. That’s why it’s essential to seek treatment early. As some patients may not develop the rash with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, they can be difficult to diagnose. If you feel sick at all after a tick bite, it’s usually a good idea to see your doctor. 

 What is the Bacterium that Causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?  

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is caused by the bacterium Ricksettia ricksettii. Unlike with some other bacteria for common tick-borne diseases, transmission of R. ricksettii occurs apart from just biting and feeding on host animals. 

Female ticks can spread the bacterium to her eggs, which leads to ticks being infected over generations. Fluids spread from the male to the female during mating can also spread the bacterium. Additionally, exposure to tick fluids, feces, or tissues can also cause an infection. Once an infected tick bites you, the bacterium can spread to you in as little as 2 hours – much quicker than with other common tick-borne diseases. It’s believed that between 1-3% of ticks carry R. ricksettii, so the chances that a tick bite results in infection with this bacterium are somewhat low.  

Which Type of Tick Carries Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever? 

 

The main vectors for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are the American dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick. The brown dog tick is a less common carrier than the other two tick species, however. 

The American dog tick is found throughout the eastern United States, with its preferred host being domestic dogs. This tick will also bite and feed off humans. As a result, your dog can contract Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as well. American dog ticks like shrubby and tall grass areas, and are often found along roads and walkways. They can easily attack humans and dogs this way. 

 

The Rocky Mountain wood tick is only found in the Rock Mountain states and southwestern Canada. 

Cures and Treatments 

 

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is usually treated with antibiotics. Treatment lasts for 5-10 days, until the symptoms get better. The disease can be life-threatening if it’s left untreated for too long, so the CDC recommends seeing a doctor if you feel ill at all after having a tick bite. For dogs, treatment is also a course of antibiotics. 

A doctor may take a blood sample for laboratory testing, to confirm the presence of the bacterium, but typically antibiotics are started before confirmation from the test. In severe cases, longer courses of antibiotics might be prescribed. 

 

Since the rash caused by Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is the bacterium’s attack on cells in the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, arms, and legs, there may be permanent damage to these blood vessels. This can sometimes result in amputation.  

Areas in Danger of Being Bitten 

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is not common in Connecticut, with only 2 probable cases reported in 2019.  However, the vector for this disease, the American dog tick, is prevalent in Connecticut and can also carry other tick-borne diseases such as tularemia. 

Final Thoughts 

 

The CDC and Mayo Clinic maintain that the best way to avoid tick-borne diseases is through prevention. Avoid likely tick habitats or treat clothes with permethrin and use repellent if you travel into potentially tick-heavy areas. Always check yourself and your pets for digs when you return home, as the American dog tick can be easily transferred inside the house by latching onto your dog. 

Take the necessary precautions, and you can protect yourself from dangerous tick-borne diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. For more info on protecting yourself from tick bites, check out this info from the CDC – prevention for humans https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html and for pets. https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_pets.html 

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is dangerous.
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Tick Control: How it works - Because the ticks are active all year long in Connecticut, relying on a professional tick exterminator to stay on top of treatments is key. We begin tick spraying in April and continue through October. It is during this period of time that ticks are most active. That said, some ticks, such as the black-legged deer tick, have a two-year lifecycle and overwinter. This means they always pose a threat to pets and humans. Because our sprayers freeze in the cold months, tick spraying must subside during the cold season. 

 

If you are looking for the best tick control service in CT at a fair price, call Tick Control, LLC. We also have organic tick control and Thermacell tick tubes upon request. 

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