.
  • .

    Spotted fever rickettsiosis is a term for a group of diseases caused by spotted fever group rickettsia, a type of bacteria. These are spread to humans by either mites or ticks specifically, the Gulf Coast tick and Pacific Coast tick. Since 2010, there have been about 3,000 cases each year with a fatality rate less than 1%. These mostly occur during the summer months in the South and southeastern states.

    The first sign of a spotted fever is an eschar, or a dark brown scab on the tick bite, which can take up to a week to appear. Once the eschar forms, patients may experience flu-like symptoms. All spotted fevers are treated with doxycycline.

    These infections can range from mild to life-threatening if left untreated. The most serious of this group of tick-borne diseases is the Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), which causes fever, headache, and rash. In severe cases, RMSF can result in permanent damage to blood vessels in the limbs, hearing loss, paralysis, or mental disabilities.