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Colorado tick fever
Alternative namesMountain tick fever; Mountain fever; American mountain fever
DefinitionColorado tick fever is an acute viral infection transmitted by the bite of the tick Dermacentor andersoni .
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
This disease is limited to the western US and is most prevalent from March to September, with the highest numbers of infections occurring in May and June.
Symptoms start about 3 to 6 days after the tick bite. Symptoms of fever continue for 3 days, stop, then recur 1 to 3 days later for another few days.
Risk factors are recent outdoor activity and recent tick bite . The incidence is high in Colorado, where up to 15% of regular campers show past exposure (based on antibodies). It is much less common in the rest of the US.
Signs and tests
TreatmentMake sure the tick is fully removed from the skin. Take a pain reliever if necessary (do not give aspirin to children; it is associated with Reye's syndrome in some viral illnesses). If complications develop, treatment will be aimed at controlling the symptoms.
Expectations (prognosis)The disease is usually self-limiting and not dangerous.
ComplicationsThere is a risk for aseptic meningitis , encephalitis , and hemorrhagic fever, but these complications are extremely rare.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if you are unable to fully remove a tick embedded in the skin, if you or your child develop symptoms suggestive of this disease, if symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment, or if new symptoms develop.
PreventionWhen walking or hiking in tick-infested areas, tuck long pants into socks to protect the legs, and wear shoes and long-sleeved shirts. Ticks will show up on white or light colors better than dark colors, making them easier to remove from your clothing. Check yourself and your pets frequently. If you find ticks, remove them immediately by using a tweezers, pulling carefully and steadily. Insect repellent may be helpful.
Update Date: 8/5/2002Sonya Shin, M.D., Infectious Diseases Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT