A woman in Wisconsin died this week from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a bacterial, zoonotic disease caused by a tick bite. The woman was camping in May when she was bit by a dog tick. While Lyme Disease, Red Meat Allergies and Babesiosis are cause for concern from Black-Legged Ticks and Lone Star Ticks, not much attention is spent talking about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Here is what you need to know about a dog tick
American Dog ticks are found predominantly in areas with little or no tree cover, such as grassy fields and scrubland, as well as along walkways and trails. They feed on a variety of hosts, ranging in size from mice to deer, and nymphs and adults can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. American dog ticks can survive for up to 2 years at any given stage if no host is found. Females can be identified by their large off-white scutum against a dark brown body. (University of Rhode Island, Tick Encounter Resource Center)
Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
The symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever typically begin between 2 and 14 days after getting a tick bite. Symptoms come on suddenly and usually include: high fever, which may persist for 2 to 3 weeks, rash, nausea, headache and muscle aches. RMSF can be lethal if not treated quickly.
When out in the woods, apply tick and insect repellents to clothes, especially around the ankles. Check yourself and pets for hidden ticks after outdoor activity and carry tick remover tools as a precautionary measure.