Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever has shown up again for the summer


Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

CARBONDALE, Ill. - Summer means families across our area will be spending a lot of time outdoors camping, fishing and swimming.  It also means your family will be exposed to one of Mother Nature's biggest bacteria-bearing culprits:  the tick.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever infections crop up in Illinois, especially during the summer months.

There have been two confirmed cases in Illinois this year, so far.

In 2012, there were 155 cases recorded in the state.

23 of those confirmed cases came out of southern Illinois, and considering the state's population is less dense in the south, that is a significant portion.

138 of those cases were reported between the months of April and September.

The tick's bite is painless.

You probably wouldn't even realize it had happened.  About 14 days later, Dr. Erica Kaufman says you will develop a fever and headaches.

Dr. Kaufman says next comes the hallmark symptom of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever:  the rash.

"It starts in the wrists and ankles, so in the extremities, and spreads toward the trunk. And that makes it much different than a lot of the other rashes that we see," said Kaufman.

There are a few ways to help prevent the tick from latching on: if you cannot avoid wooded areas, then make sure to wear protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Also, use a bug spray that contains at least 20% DEET.

"Check yourself when you come in at the end of the day. Shower off and really do a good body check. They tend to go in the warm moist areas, so around the waistband," said Kaufman.

Ticks also gravitate to the hairline, so make sure to pay close attention to the neck area after a day outdoors.

Dr. Kaufman says it is important to check your pets for ticks, too.

They can transmit the ticks to you and spread the disease.

For more information on the symptoms and treatment of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, click here.  Type the letter "T", for tick, in the search bar.