Case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Diagnosed in Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/10/03

Case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Diagnosed in Lubbock

This week a local physician diagnosed a case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). This is the first case of RMSF in Lubbock since computerized recording of communicable diseases began in the city.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a tick-borne infectious disease spread to humans from infected ticks. It can be a serious, and potentially fatal disease if gone untreated. Prompt recognition and antibiotic therapy can assure a mortality rate as low as 3%.

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The State of Texas has recorded some 25 cases of RMSF from 1994 to 1998.

You can protect yourself from exposure to this disease by taking a few simple precautions:

  • Keep high grass, weeds, and brush controlled in your yard and areas where you or your children might socialize or play.
  • Wear light colored clothing and spray shoes or boots with DEET before going out into potentially tick-infested areas. Tuck trousers into boots or socks to prevent ticks from crawling up to leg and attaching for a blood meal. Wear long sleeved shirts.
  • Do a full body inspection, including hair, of self and children after contact with potentially tick infested areas. This is especially important to hunters and people who spend much time out of doors in wooded areas or areas with high grass.
  • If you are bitten by a tick, and it has attached, remove carefully with fine tipped tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Never remove with bare hands if possible as this may crush the tick and express the gut contents, potentially causing infection where it otherwise might not have occurred. If you must use your hands, use a tissue or gloves, and thoroughly cleanse your hands and the area where bitten with soap and water after removing the tick.
  • Never remove ticks from animals or pets with you bare hands. Follow the directions as described above.
  • Use approved insecticide in tick infested yards to avoid contact with ticks for you and your animals.
  • Inspect outdoor pets thoroughly and regularly and remove ticks promptly using tweezers as described above.

If you know of exposure to ticks and experience symptoms that include fever, nausea, vomiting, severe headache, muscle pain, or loss of appetite, see your physician promptly for early diagnosis and treatment. The characteristic rash is a later symptom and could be accompanied by abdominal pain, joint pain and diarrhea.

Again, early recognition and treatment of this disease will hasten recovery.

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