Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


Infections caused by ticks are widespread in warm weather because more people are spending time outdoors, leading to an increase in infections. This infection can be lethal and life-threatening, so you should seek medical attention right away once you see signs of infection.

What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a type of infection transmitted by a tick, and without prompt treatment, it can cause severe damage to your internal organs such as your heart and kidneys. The name was derived from the Rocky Mountains because it was first identified in that area. It is widespread in the southeast parts of Mexico, Canada, South America, and Central America.

The organism that causes this infection is called Rickettsia. Rickettsia and the ticks carrying this organism are the most common sources of infection. If an infected tick attaches itself to you and continues to feed on your blood for more than six hours, you might get infected.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases increase when the ticks are active, especially during warm weather, because people like spending time outdoors.

Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

The first symptom that people suffer from when they have Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a severe headache and a high-temperature fever. A rash will appear on the ankles and wrist area in a few days.

The onset of illness from infection usually starts within the first week of being infected, but there are cases where symptoms don’t appear for up to 14 days. The most confusing thing about this illness is that the symptoms can often be misdiagnosed as other illnesses. Symptoms can include chills, high fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neurological changes or confusion.

One of the telling signs of Rocky Mountain spotted fever infection is a non-itchy red rash. The rash will typically begin to show after three to five days of initial signs and symptoms. The usual spots where the rash initially appears are the wrist or ankle areas. The rash can spread in both directions, down to the hands or the bottom of the feet. It can also spread upwards to the arms and legs or torso.

Rocky Mountain can damage the blood vessels, which can lead to clots. This can cause life-threatening diseases such as Encephalitis, kidney failure, severe infection, and death.

How is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Diagnosed?

Consulting with a doctor is essential, especially if you get sick or develop a rash after a tick bite. Infectious diseases caused by ticks can progress rapidly and be life-threatening if undetected. If you can, you can take the tick to your doctor’s office so that they can perform lab tests and identify what specific tick infected you.

Common Treatments for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

People infected by Rocky Mountain spotted fever can avoid severe infection by getting treatment within five days of developing symptoms. Most doctors will recommend antibiotic therapy like Doxycycline is the most effective treatment. If you are pregnant, your doctor will recommend chloramphenicol.

Our Locations

Find us on the map

Serving Patients in and around Palm Beach County

Palm Beach Dermatology has been serving patients in and around Palm Beach County for over twenty years, we are a full-service dermatology and dermatological surgery practice with special emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. All physicians in our group are Board Certified by The American Board of Dermatology and are Fellows of the American Academy of Dermatology. We invite you to visit us at Palm Beach Dermatology to find out why you can trust our skin care team.

  • "To My Wonderful Doctor! I just couldn’t wait 6 months to tell you what I think of you! You are friendly, kind, gentle, soft spoken and you don’t want to hurt me! You’re Special and …. YOU REALLY CARE!! Thank You For You!"
    Marilyn T.
  • "Dr. Muhart is truly a very caring and professional doctor. I have referred many friends, family members and co-workers to her office knowing they will get great care."
    Karen C.
  • "Dr. Lifshitz has an incredibly gentle bedside manner. He diagnoses issues with ease and offers possible ways to address them so the patient can make the best decision for him or herself. I know I am in great hands with Dr. Lifshitz."
    Ami S.
  • "The office team is very personable and friendly. When you walk in you feel like family. Brian is the best. I have been going to Brian for over 5 years and would never change. It is great to see him again and the staff. Absolutely wonderful!!"
  • "Dr. Kowalczyk and his staff are awesome! The office staff is both efficient and friendly. His exam is thorough. I will definitely be back!"
    Jenna J.
  • "As a longtime skin cancer patient I’m impressed with Dr. Kelley’s professionalism and follow-ups. She and her staff are all about results and patient satisfaction. Quite different from the other “Mohs Mills”!"
    Woody B.
  • "Dr. Fayne saw my daughter for her acne. He was great with her and explained everything so she could understand. We love the office staff too!"
    Kristen B.
  • "I have been seeing Dr. DiBacco going on 10 years. Truly, a great dermatologist. He cares and is very personable. He is detailed with his assessments and treatments. What more could you ask for except a great personality? Oh, and he has that too!"
    Alex M.
  • "Dr. Cohen makes you feel like part of his family. He is very thorough in his exams and keeps you informed during your dermatological office visits and any telephone follow-ups."
    Steven D.