By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Health officials in Grayson County, Kentucky are reporting a recent increase in cases of the tickborne disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF).
They report receiving 26 cases of RMSF since July 7, 2019.
Dr. Bryce Meredith made the following statement, “We are seeing an increase in tick-borne illnesses in Grayson and the surrounding counties. Individuals should have heightened awareness regarding ticks in our area. The most common illnesses are Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.”
RMSF is a tick borne disease caused by the organism, Rickettsia rickettsii. Typically, the progress of the disease is a sudden onset of high fever, deep muscle pain, severe headache and chills. A rash usually appears on the extremities within 5 days then soon spreads to palms and soles and then rapidly to the trunk.
Fatalities can be seen in greater than 20% of untreated cases. Death is uncommon with prompt recognition and treatment. Still approximately 3-5% of cases seen in the U.S. are fatal. The absence or delayed appearance of the typical rash or the failure to recognize it, especially in dark-skinned people cause a delay in diagnosis and increased fatalities.
Early stages of RMSF can be confused with erlichiosis, meningococcal meningitis and enteroviral infection.
They are asking residents to ensure they are protecting their family, pets, and yourselves properly while outdoors.
If you find a tick, please remove it appropriately. Also, if you feel fatigued (tired) or having a headache that will not go away, consider seeing your family healthcare provider for tick borne illness testing.
Dr Meredith said, “Ticks are commonly in woods, grassy, or bushy areas. If individuals are planning on being in these areas, they should plan accordingly and wear long sleeves, long pants tucked into your socks, and use an EPA approved insect and tick repellent. Once an individual has returned inside, they should check their clothes and body for ticks. Early awareness and early tick removal is particularly important. Typically, if an individual removes a tick within 24-48 hours, this decreases the rate of disease transmission. I encourage individuals to contact their physician if a tick has been attached for an undetermined time or if they develop fever, rash, chills, or vague symptoms such as new onset unexplained dizziness or excessive fatigue.”
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