NC has the highest number of cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) in the nation. Buncombe County had 11 cases of RMSF in 2012 and 8 cases in 2011. Tick season is typically April – September but can occur all year long. To date, Buncombe has had one confirmed case of RMSF, which resulted in death. The last known death from RMSF occurred in July 2009.
Only about half of people who develop symptoms of RMSF were aware they had been bitten by a tick. Therefore, it is important to know about the symptoms. If a tick is attached, quick removal of the tick will lessen the chance of infection.
When people find a tick on their body the date should be noted and shared with medical providers in case symptoms occur. Most symptoms occur within 3 - 14 days after the tick bite and include sudden moderate or high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, and in most but not all cases, a rash. In approximately half of cases the rash occurs on palms of hands and soles of feet. Early detection and treatment lessens the severity of this illness.
To learn about small steps you can take that can make a big difference, click on information below.
For more on Preventing tick bites, symptom and tick removal, visit the CDC website.