The Deadly Outbreak Of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever In California Likely Came In Mexico: CDC Reports

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

There is a new health concern in California. There has been an outbreak of RMSF – Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the state. According to the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), this outbreak has come from Mexico. The health advisory was released on the 8th of December.

Till now, five cases have been reported. All these cases have come from people who either lived or traveled to/from the Mexican city of Tecate. According to the report, these patients were in Tecate in the interval of 2 weeks and fell ill. All of the patients have been diagnosed with spotted fever between July and December in Southern California. Out of these 5, four are younger than 18 and one is an adult. Two patients are Mexican residents while three patients are citizens of the U.S. Three out of five patients have died since July and the rest of the two are critical.

What Is The Deadly Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

This is a kind of bacterial infection which spreads through ticks. These are majorly seen in domestic dogs, especially in peri-urban and urban regions. Although the tick bites are painless a person may not even notice that something has bitten them. The same is the case with dogs. Also, ticks are not communicable and cannot transfer from one person to another.

If an individual has been attacked by ticks and falls prey to the Rocky Mountain spotted fever, the following symptoms will be visible – headache, fever, gastrointestinal symptoms, abdominal pain, swelling, muscle pain, and rashes. As reported by the CDC, the rash is not exclusively visible and is quite faded. It is usually spotted on the person’s lower regions and arms. The onset of symptoms is visible after 2 to 4 days. In some cases, the patient will not get a rash.

The bacteria called Rickettsia rickettsii is what causes the fever and is spread due to brown ticks on dogs. It is reddish brown in colour and is detected commonly on domestic dogs. What’s the basic difference between ticks attacking humans and dogs is that the ticks on dogs are larger in size. Also, they do not have any resemblance to those white spots of the deer ticks.

Dr. Marc Siegel, an NYU Langone Medical Centre clinical professor shared his insights and said that he used blood tests to diagnose Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Through this, the problem was effectively treated.

Brown Ticks In Dogs

What does the CDC have to say about it?

The disease is not common or harmless. It makes the patient’s condition worse in no time. If the patient is not given doxycycline – the treatment drug, the scenario can be fatal. This drug has to be given within 5 days of illness to save the patient.

Another advisory that the CDC has issued is that travelling should be restricted. The disease is found in the urban regions of Northern Mexican states. This includes (but is not restricted to) Coahuila, Baja California, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, and Chihuahua. So, it is advised to implement basic precautions when you are travelling from or to any of these states. This means that it is important to check the bodies of yourself and your travel partners for ticks. Clothes should also be continuously checked. If you want, you can always contact the veterinarian for guidance in case you are taking your dog with you.

The case of California has led to the anticipation that the fatality rate in Mexico due to Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be more than 40%. CDC has also said that this fever is more common in kids aged under 10. Dr. Siegel said that since the symptoms of this fever are similar to the flu and that’s why detecting the actual problem can be tough sometimes.

When the symptoms advance, problems like swelling in the brain, mental disorientation, death of body tissue, coma, organ damage, and respiratory issues are common.

CDC has called out the local healthcare professionals and asked them to report any such cases to their territorial, state, local, or tribal departments of health.

In case an individual feels that there are such symptoms, it is important to get medical assistance quickly.

Also Read: Illinois Recommends Masks In Health Care Due To Respiratory Infections

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