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03/08/24 Public Health Education Topic: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)

Per the CDC: Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial disease spread through the bite of an infected tick. Most people who get sick with RMSF will have a fever, headache, and rash. RMSF can be deadly if not treated early with the right antibiotic.

Signs and Symptoms

Early signs and symptoms are not specific to RMSF (including fever and headache). However, the disease can rapidly progress to a serious and life-threatening illness. See your healthcare provider if you become ill after having been bitten by a tick or having been in the woods or in areas with high brush where ticks commonly live.

Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Rash

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Stomach pain

  • Muscle pain

  • Lack of appetite


Rash is a common sign in people who are sick with RMSF.  Rash usually develops 2-4 days after fever begins. The look of the rash can vary widely over the course of illness. Some rashes can look like red splotches and some look like pinpoint dots. While almost all patients with RMSF will develop a rash, it often does not appear early in illness, which can make RMSF difficult to diagnose.

Click the link below to view the CDC's RMSF Infographic pdf:

For more information visit: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) | CDC



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