Infectolab - tick bite

Is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Caused By Ticks?

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF for short) is one of the most dangerous vector-borne diseases that humans can contract. Yet not a lot of people know how you catch it. Lyme is the heavy-hitter of vector-borne diseases, but there are countless more out there that humans can potentially contract from any given bite of a tick, louse, mite, or flea. Sometimes these can be transmitted simultaneously with Lyme disease, in which case they’re known as co-infections. Sometimes they are contracted singularly and do enough damage on their own. Unfortunately for doctors, many of the initial symptoms of these diseases present the same way. Knowing if you have come into contact with any ticks or fleas recently is key. But is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever caused by ticks? And if so, what tick causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

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Infectolab - tick-borne diseases

Is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever The Same As Rickettsia?

Lice, ticks, fleas, and mites carry numerous strains of bacteria. Not all of those are capable of infecting humans, but many can – so many, in fact, that it’s impossible for the average person to keep track. Vector-borne diseases are transmitted through the bites of these tiny creatures. Once they’re in the bloodstream, many of the initial symptoms are generalized and similar, as the body works to fight the infection with its natural immune defenses. This complicates matters and can make accurate diagnosis problematic.

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Lyme-Time-test-tube

How Do You Test For Rickettsia?

Positive, concrete diagnosis in the field of vector-borne diseases has been a recurring problem. One of the biggest issues with Lyme disease is the misdiagnosis rate. This is hard to estimate accurately, but with chronic Lyme mimicking the symptoms of other, more common chronic disorders, misdiagnosis numbers are believed to be in the hundreds of thousands globally. Testing for vector-borne diseases (those spread by ticks, mites, lice, and fleas) can be a complex procedure, especially if the initial bite that caused the infection was not noticed immediately. Without specific telltale signs on the site of the bite, many of the initial symptoms of Lyme and other infections are generalized and hard to pin down. Compounding matters is the fact that if the tests are conducted too early in the disease’s lifecycle, they can often return false negatives. This is a recurring problem with disorders initiated by the Rickettsia pathogens. 

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