It is caused by a bacterium known as the Rickettsia rickettsii that is spread through a bite of an infested tick most likely to be either American Dog Tick or else Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks.
Even though the disease is named as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, at present, the number of cases detected from this region is rather low when compared to other parts of United States. It is also worthwhile knowing that the highest incidence of this disease is being detected in Oklahoma and North Carolina whereas the incidence of RMSP is highest from the period beginning from April to September.
When talking about how this bacterium spread, as mentioned earlier, when a person is exposed to an infested tick, they can bite through the skin while being attached rather tightly. The ticks would require certain amount of time to establish itself as well as to transfer the bacteria from itself to the human victim. Thus, the principle in reducing the risk of Rocky Mountain spotted fever would be to prevent exposure to these ticks as much as possible as well as to reduce the possibility of a bite even if the person is exposed to such ticks.
Let us now see some of the measures that can be used to effectively reduce the risk of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- Be vigilant regarding the possibility of exposure by inquiring from local health authorities regarding highly infested areas.
- Wear light colored clothing in order to detect ticks rather early as they appear like black dots as against being camouflaged on dark colored clothing and skin.
- Tuck your pants under the socks to prevent a tick from crawling underneath the pants.
- Make use of a tick repellent such as permethrin which can be used on the boots and clothing.
- Use of DEET containing repellents on skin would also be useful although they would not last as long as permethrin. But, when applying, care should be taken in children as it can be toxic to their skin.
- In possible exposures, inspect the skin closely to detect ticks which are crawling on the skin.
- Remove the ticks using tweezers or else tick removing forceps by holding them as close as possible to the skin and by applying gentle but sustained pressure.
- Check clothing as well as household pets for attached ticks as it is possible for these ticks to attach on to the human skin later on.
In most instances, these measures can prevent the tick exposures to a great extent but it should be remembered that none of these are full proof methods in preventing Rocky Mountain spotted fever 100%.
Reference: https://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd /rmsf/Q&A.HTM