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Rocky Mountain spotted fever; See the main symptoms and diagnosis

Four people have already died from Rocky Mountain spotted fever in São Paulo, on a farm in Campinas. The disease is caused by the bite of the star tick and the diagnosis has drawn attention to the population. After the registered cases, many doubts about the disease have spread. What is it?, what are the main symptoms?, and essentially, how to protect yourself?. We answer the main questions in this matter.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a potentially fatal disease transmitted by the bite of ticks infected with bacteria from the Rickettsia family. When an infected tick feeds on the blood of a human host, the bacteria present in its body can be transferred to the person’s bloodstream, causing the infection. Elba Lemos, Fiocruz researcher and head of the Hantavirus and Rickettsiosis Laboratory at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz), clarifies the reaction to the bite, “People are different. There are people who, when bitten, will have an allergy. There are individuals that a single tick can cause a major skin lesion. But some people are not going to have a reaction.”, says the doctor. Therefore, if you have visited areas of possible contamination, you must present yourself for medical attention, but if you have not presented reactions, be aware of the symptoms.


Symptoms of spotted fever:

  • High fever: High body temperature is one of the main symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can reach high levels;
  • Severe headaches: Headaches can be persistent and moderate to severe in intensity;
  • Rashes: Characterized by red spots, rashes usually appear a few days after infection. They usually start at the wrists and ankles and spread across the body;
  • General malaise: Feeling tired, weak and lacking in energy are common symptoms;
  • Muscle and joint pain: There may be flu-like discomfort and pain in the muscles and joints;
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Symptoms can take up to 7 days after the bite to appear.

Redness in the foot caused by Rocky Mountain spotted fever/Social networks/Reproduction

How to protect yourself?

To protect yourself from Rocky Mountain spotted fever and reduce the risk of contracting the disease, some preventive measures can be adopted:

  • Avoid infested areas;
  • Wear Appropriate Protective Clothing: When visiting tick-prone areas, wear long-sleeved clothing, long pants, closed-toe shoes, and a hat. Such garments can help reduce the exposure of ticks to your skin;
  • Do a thorough inspection after outdoor activities: After spending time in areas susceptible to ticks, carefully check the entire body, including areas such as the armpits, groin, scalp, and behind the ears. If you find ticks, remove them correctly;
  • Protect your home and garden: Keep the environment clean, free of accumulated foliage, trimmed lawns and bushes away from living areas;

Consult a health professional for tick removal: Avoid homemade techniques such as burning or applying substances directly to the tick. The ideal is to use tweezers, gauze or cotton to remove it, according to the Ministry of Health.

Animal care is also essential. Always check if there are no ticks on the pets after walking through risk areas.


Featured photo: Carrapato-estrela/Disclosure/Municipality of Valença/Reproduction

Rocky Mountain spotted fever; See the main symptoms and diagnosis

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