Researchers seek Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever prevention and treatment

Researchers search for RMSF prevention and treatment | Courtesy of

A recent study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Arizona tribes, shows that preventing and treating Rock Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) early will save both lives and costs.

The study shows that the approximate cost for the RMSF epidemic amount to $13.2 million between 2002 and 2011. This includes just two relevant Indian reservations, as well as time off work, medical costs and loss of lifetime productivity because of early death. Excluding expensive medical procedures and long-term losses due to disability, the monetary figure is an underestimate of the specific cost for the epidemic.

Health professionals confirm that the most important step in avoiding the disease and eventual death is to prevent tick bites. The IHS, CDC, tribal and state governments are collaborating to create an efficient prevention program to contain the epidemic.

“Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is completely preventable,” Naomi Drexler, CDC epidemiologist and one of the study’s authors, said. “State, federal and tribal health authorities have been working together since the start of the epidemic to build effective community-based tick control programs, and these efforts have produced remarkable reductions in human cases. These programs are costly, but medical expenses and lives lost cost four times more than RMSF prevention efforts. Increasing access to these prevention efforts is critical to save lives and protect communities.”

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd Atlanta, GA - 30329

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