Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a tickborne disease caused by the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii.
Dermacentor ticks are natural hosts of R. Rickettsii and transmit the organism via their bites. A tick bite can be an important clue to diagnosis of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. However, not all individuals with a tick bite are aware of being bitten.
Although the name suggests that this disease is common in the Rocky Mountain region, it is endemic in the East Coast of the United States.
Fever is a common initial symptom of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Headache is a common early symptom of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
A rash initially appears two to five days after the onset of fever and begins as a small flat pink macule on the wrists or ankles. Within a few days, the rash evolves to a characteristic petechial rash that commonly involves the palms or soles.
The rash has an inward pattern of spread, beginning at the extremities and migrating towards the trunk.
Thromboctyopenia can be an abnormal lab finding that further suggests diagnosis of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It is a relative decrease of blood platelets.
Hyponatremia is an electrolyte disturbance in which serum sodium concentration is lower than normal, often defined as less than 135 mEq/L. Hyponatremia can be an abnormal lab finding in Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Elevated liver enzymes including AST and ALT can occur in Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and can raise clinical suspicion for this disease.
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