Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Typhus-like disease first seen in the Rocky Mountain region, caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii (see rickettsia) and transmitted by various ticks. In severe cases the rash bleeds more and is especially prominent on the wrists and ankles. Central nervous system involvement causes restlessness, insomnia, and delirium. Prostration may progress to coma, with death possible in a week or more. Mortality increases with age. Recovery is slow but usually complete as visual disturbances, deafness, and mental confusion pass. Prompt antibiotic treatment hastens it and reduces mortality. Prevention depends on avoiding tick bites, by wearing long, light-coloured clothing and insect repellent and inspecting for ticks. A vaccine reduces the risk of infection somewhat and of death greatly.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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