Michigan Child Diagnosed With Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Michigan Child Diagnosed With Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials said Thursday that a child had contracted the potentially fatal disease. This is the first case confirmed in the state since 2009.

The state of Michigan has its first reported case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever being contracted in the state since 2009, according to health officials.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) says Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii which can be deadly.


(RMSF) can be fatal if not treated promptly and correctly, even in previously healthy people. Symptoms typically include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle pain. A characteristic rash may develop a few days later. The rash typically consists of small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots on the wrists, forearms, and ankles that spreads to include the trunk, and sometimes the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.  However, some people never develop the rash, or the rash may have an atypical appearance.”

State health officials say Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be difficult to diagnose because it can mimic other common diseases.

Early treatment is essential to preventing serious complications, including death. If RMSF if suspected, the antibiotic doxycycline is the first line treatment for both adults and children, and should be initiated immediately. There are a number of ticks in the United States that can transmit RMSF including the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, which is the most common tick encountered in Michigan. Other ticks that transmit the disease outside of Michigan are the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, and the brown dog tick, Rhipecephalus sanguineus.”

In May, it was reported a new tick species, the Lone Star Tick, was spreading throughout Michigan. The Lone Star Tick is known to spread RMSF.

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