Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a severe disease that affects your blood vessels. It is potentially fatal.
The disease is spread by ticks in North, Central, and South America.
RMSF is caused by a specific bacteria. This bacteria is carried by the American dog tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick. It passes to humans when an infected tick bites the skin. The bacteria can then pass into the bloodstream.
The bacteria sits in the lining of small blood vessels and multiplies. The growth of the bacteria causes irritation and swelling in the blood vessels. Blood and other fluids can then leak out of the blood vessels into the surrounding tissue.
Last reviewedMay 2013by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.