All about Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever
All the facts that you need to know
What is Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever (RMSF)
- Rash (occurs 2-5 days after fever, may be absent in some cases; see below)
- Abdominal pain (may mimic appendicitis or other causes of acute abdominal pain)
- Muscle pain
- Lack of appetite
- Conjunctival injection (red eyes)
Long-term Health Problems
Infection in Children
The RMSF Rash
While most people with RMSF (90%) have some type of rash during the illness, some people do not develop the rash until late in the disease process, after treatment should have already begun. Approximately 10% of RMSF patients never develop a rash. It is important for physicians to consider RMSF if other signs and symptoms support a diagnosis, even if a rash is not present.
A classic case of RMSF involves a rash that first appears 2-5 days after the fever as small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots (macules) on the wrists, forearms, and ankles and spreads to include the trunk and sometimes the palms and soles. Often the rash varies from this description and people who fail to develop a rash, or develop an atypical rash, are at increased risk of being misdiagnosed.
The red to purple, spotted (petechial) rash of RMSF is usually not seen until the sixth day or later after onset of symptoms and occurs in 35-60% of patients with the infection. This is a sign of progression to severe disease, and every attempt should be made to begin treatment before petechiae develops.