SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018

CDC confirms first Rocky Mountain spotted fever death since 2009

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced on July 11 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a child's death in June was due to Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

This case, reported from Buncombe County, is the first confirmed case of death from RMSF in North Carolina since 2009. RMSF is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in North Carolina, although deaths resulting from these types of diseases are rare, an infection of this types claims three to five percent of its victims.

"This death is a tragic reminder that ticks in our state can carry dangerous and potentially fatal diseases," State Health Director Laura Gerald said. "Transmission of RMSF from a tick can happen quickly after a bite, so the best way to prevent any tick-borne illness is to limit the opportunity for exposure."

The N.C. DHHS urged the public to protect themselves from a potential tick infection by treating clothing with permethrin, applying DEET to skin, making the yard less welcoming to ticks, checking any pets regularly for possible tick infections and removing the tick promptly if bitten.

Symptoms of infection are similar to those of the flu and include fever, muscle pain, headache and fever. Twenty percent of all cases result in hospitalization.