Septic Shock Caused by Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in a Suburban Texas Patient with Pet Dog Exposure: A Case Report
Patient: Female, 45
Final Diagnosis: Rocky mountain spotted fever
Symptoms: Altered mental state • ataxia • dyspnea • fever • headache
Unusual clinical course
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is associated with high mortality and requires prompt identification and treatment to ensure better outcomes.
We describe an advanced case of RMSF in a 45-year-old female patient with pet dog exposure who presented with altered mental status, dyspnea, and ataxia progressing to septic shock and acute hypoxic respiratory failure requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation.
This case illustrates the importance of keeping RMSF in the differential diagnosis in patient populations outside of the usual geographic areas of incidence in the appropriate clinical setting.
This is what can happen when diagnosis is delayed.
This woman that lived in the suburbs had a 7-day history of fevers associated with headache, arthralgias, nausea, fatigue, and neck pain, but did NOT have the tell-tale blotchy RMSF rash.
- Rule #1: Do NOT sleep with pets. The risk is too great.
- Rule #2: If you choose to have pets, make sure you treat them if they go outdoors. The risk is too great.
- Rule #3: Doctors need to start treating this plague with the respect it deserves and frankly should keep it in the back of their minds AT ALL TIMES.