What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

A trip to the pumpkin patch left a California woman with a painful infection. Jennifer Velasquez noticed red bumps across her body. She was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a disease spread by ticks.

“I have not seen a case up here yet but I am sure one day I am going to run across one. Because it is in the area and Single Mountain in particular with all the hiking people do they get exposed pretty often,” said Nurse Practitioner Timothy Ryder with CHI Memorial Convenient Care.

Hay rides, corn mazes and pumpkin patches. As the weather cools, families head outdoors. Health officials want you to know ticks are still lurking. “Especially since we haven't had a real cool down yet. But April through September is standard peak season for ticks.”

The number of cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever has steadily increased since 2009. So far this year there have been 594 cases in Tennessee, 117 more cases than this time last year.  “If you go into shock with this infection, just like any infection you can become septic and die from this.”

The signs and symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pain and lack of appetite. A rash can develop 2 to 4 days after a fever. “It could be splashy red rash or later on it can morph and change to a pin point red rash purple rash.”

Most patients recover, but may be left with permanent damage. “Amputations are not uncommon in severe cases, paralysis, long term mental status changes.”

If you or your child show symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Doctors say the illness can be treated with an antibiotic.

Doctors said the best thing to do to avoid a tick borne illness is to take preventative steps. While outdoors they recommend covering up in protective clothing. Also use bug spray with deet.

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