CDC Issues Warning on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

The CDC is warning health care providers that if a patient has symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and has recently traveled to northern Mexico, they should consider starting treatment with the antibiotic doxycycline right away, rather than waiting for test results to confirm the condition.

Signs of infection can be mild in the first few days, including a low fever, headache, stomach problems, abdominal pain, rash and swelling around the eyes and on the back of the hands. On or after about five days, someone may develop changes in mental state, coma, brain swelling, respiratory problems and multiorgan damage. It’s fatal in 5% to 10% of cases, with about half of those deaths happening within eight days of the onset of illness.

An outbreak of the tickborne disease has caused at least five illnesses, including three deaths, in the US since July.

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