Since the 1970s, Lyme Disease has been the main concern and focus of all the tick diseases in the United States. However, recently there have been other tick illnesses making headlines that are leading adventure seekers to choose to stay indoors including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, another painful tick disease.
The CDC says 2017 saw a record number of cases reported, totaling 6,248 compared to 4,269 the previous year - but the numbers are only worsening as more states are being added to the list with infected tick occurrences. In 2018, the CDC declared Tennessee to be a top state where RMSF is most common as well as North Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Because there is no cure for RMSF, the CDC advises homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts to take precautionary steps to decrease the chances of contracting RMSF including:
- Deer-proofing yards to keep away ticks;
- Using insect repellents containing DEET;
- Checking yourself and pets for ticks after outdoor activities;
Removing ticks with tick removal tools - not fingers; nail polish or lighters.