Patient Comments: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Symptoms and Signs

What symptoms and signs did you experience with Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

Comment from: rocky75, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 25

My Rocky Mountain spotted fever symptoms were paralysis, speech impairment, stuttering, brain fog, and irregular periods.

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Comment from: hmama93848, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 14

My son had a tick attached to him on a Monday (not sure for how long), and about 10 days later suddenly had a fever, headache and stomach ache. He vomited the next morning and had a fever ranging from 100 to 103 over the next 3 days. He couldn't sit upright for very long, had no appetite, and vomited about once a day. I took him to the doctor on day 3 of the fever, and he was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) even though he didn't have the rash. The timeline was textbook along with the other symptoms. He started tetracycline and started feeling better within a couple of days. He was slightly dehydrated and his platelets, white blood count and sodium levels were low enough that they wanted to admit him for fluids but we hydrated him with water and G2 which did the trick. He developed the rash on his shins a couple of days later. We are 3 weeks from onset of symptoms and his white blood count is still slightly below the normal range. We live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Comment from: Jody, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 05

I spent the winter in Costa Rica, on the Caribbean-Panama Border and must have been bitten by a tick there, though never saw it. I got suddenly very tired, had fevers and chills and had no appetite. I asked the local doctor for antibiotics and took them two weeks in a row (Cipro). I then returned to the U.S., not knowing what was wrong with me, wondered if I had malaria. I developed a rash at 2 1/2 weeks that looked like lots of mosquito bites and was not itchy. I walked into an emergency room and was first diagnosed with swimmers' itch. I returned a week later and the doctor said he did not know what it was. I had trouble walking, slept most of the time, did not eat and lost 18 lb. and had terrible brain fog. The next morning, he called me and said to check myself into the hospital right away and was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). Because it is never seen here, many doctors stopped in to see what it looked like and ask questions. I was put on doxycycline for 12 days and was feeling better, the rash was going away. After 6 days of stopping the medications, the rash was returning to my hands and I am now on the doxycycline again. I am very tired and cannot work.

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Comment from: Vernon, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 08

I had severe flu like symptoms on March 2008. I was wiped out. My fever peaked at 104 three days after the first symptoms. By 5 days, my neck hurt so bad I could not sleep. I could not move it. Excruciating pain. The doctor's diagnosis was post viral syndrome. A shot, Valium, and painkillers made it better. The next morning, the pain was back. I had to hold my head to sit up. This went on for five months. I had severe knee pain one day, and severe hip pain the next day, and bouts of severe diarrhea. I felt buzzing all over my body, and in my brain. I saw doctor after doctor. I told them I had a tick bite. I slowly recovered. Five months later, I could not move my legs right and I was not able to move fast. I was falling. Vertigo. I've fallen hundreds of times. I started having severe back pain. Three MRIs showed bulging discs, but no nerve impingement. I almost could not walk and had severe pain. Nerve conduction studies showed neuropathy in both legs. I had muscle pain in both legs, very tight. I couldn't use stairs without a railing, had muscle weakness, pain went to my knees and hips. I thought it was Lyme's disease. Test came back RMSF. I had positive IgG for rickettsia. The gold standard is 1:64 titer by IFA. That was negative. I had one round of doxycycline, which is not enough to clear a chronic infection. I was referred to a rheumatologist. I still have not been treated. I started taking 2000 mg of vitamin C, and my back, knees, and hips are better. I need the full course of antibiotics.

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Patient Comments

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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Prognosis Question: Please describe your experience with Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Prevention Question: If you live in a region with ticks or previous outbreaks of RMSF, how do you try to prevent it?
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Location Question: Please share your experience with RMSF, including the region in which you contracted it.

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