Archive for the ‘Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever’ Category

FREE Tick Testing – Adds Bartonella Pathogen Assay

Ask the Vet: Lyme Not Only Issue With Ticks

Ask the Vet: Lyme not only issue with ticks

By now my overall distaste for ticks is well known and their ability to spread diseases to people and pets is disturbingly diverse.

Lyme disease deservedly gets the bulk of the attention, but some less well known diseases can infect your dog via a tick bite and the warm, wet spring is creating a perfect environment for ticks to reproduce and spread disease.

Anaplasmosis is a bacterial disease similar to Lyme disease and is transmitted by the same species of tick, so often dogs may be infected with Anaplasma as well as the Borrelia bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

The symptoms are generally less severe than Lyme disease and are associated with a low number of blood platelets that assist in blood clotting, so bleeding disorders may be seen.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is one of the more widespread tick-borne diseases in the United States, often contradicting its limited geographic name. It is spread by multiple species of ticks, which explains its extended range. RMSF is also unique in that is can be transmitted very quickly after the tick bites your dog.

Joint pain, enlarged lymph nodes and inflammation of blood vessels, called vasculitis, are typical symptoms associated with RMSF.

Babesiosis has seen a resurgence in recent years and is somewhat unique among disease that are tick-borne in that it can be spread via a tick bite but also through contaminated blood. “Pit bull”-type breeds are susceptible to Babesia infections and with their well-deserved increasing popularity as pets (including my own), the incidence of this infection is increasing. The infection causes bursting of red blood cells, called hemolysis. When the severity of the hemolysis increases, the body can’t keep up and the skin and gums may take on a yellow appearance, or jaundice.

As an infected dog becomes more anemic from the loss of red blood cells, they maybe lethargic or have trouble breathing. If severe, a blood transfusion may be needed. The fact that this can be transmitted through infected blood products is why dogs are now screened for this disease if they participate in a blood donor program.

While this is only a partial list of the less common tick-borne infection that are being spread, it reminds us that those awful, little eight-legged creatures are out there and protection and prevention are still the best option for you and your dog.

Questions for Dr. Gary Thompson can be emailed to or mailed to The Blade, Attn. Ask the Vet, 541 N. Superior St. Toledo, OH., 43660. Dr. Thompson regrets that he cannot answer individual letters.


For more:


Dogs Help Spread a Dangerous Tick-Borne Disease (RMSF)


May 30, 2019
By Amy Quinton-UC Davis
(Credit: Erik B/Flickr)

New research examines risk factors for Rocky Mountain spotted fever, one of the deadliest tick-borne diseases in the Americas, in Mexicali, Mexico.

In Mexicali, an uncontrolled epidemic of Rocky Mountain spotted fever has affected more than 1,000 people since 2008.

Researchers examined dogs, ticks, and surveyed households in 200 neighborhoods. Half of the neighborhoods in the study had diagnosed human cases of the disease. The team discovered that even though citywide only one in 1,000 ticks were infected, there were neighborhoods at very high risk where almost one in 10 ticks were infected.

“If you live in one of these high-risk neighborhoods and you get five brown dog tick bites, that means you have a pretty good chance of being exposed to Rocky Mountain spotted fever,” says lead author Janet Foley, with the department of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.

The brown dog tick, which feeds on dogs and people, spreads Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The insect thrives in hot, arid climates. Previous studies have shown that poverty, numerous stray dogs, and brown dog ticks increased the risk of getting Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In Mexicali, risks were higher along the edges of poorer neighborhoods or outside of the city in rural areas.

Half of the 284 dogs the researchers examined were infested with ticks. Some dogs carried thousands of ticks.

Almost three-quarters of the dogs we tested had been infected with the agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever at some point in their life,” says Foley. “That’s astronomical.”

People with Rocky Mountain spotted fever typically develop symptoms one to two weeks after an infected tick bites them. They can develop fever, nausea, headache, and muscle pain. As the bacteria infect blood vessel linings, blood begins to pool under the skin, resulting in a rash that can look like red splotches or spots. The longer people wait before seeing a doctor and starting treatment with antibiotics, the greater the chance of death.

The study, which appears in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, also gauged people’s knowledge about Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It found 80 percent of residents had heard of the disease, but fewer than half used pesticides to prevent bites.

Foley says a Rocky Mountain spotted fever epidemic on the scale of that in Mexicali is not as likely in the United States as long as dog ticks are well managed. But as temperatures warm with climate change, there are concerns that the particular human-feeding brown dog tick strain will continue to move north, resulting in more human cases. Some studies have suggested the hotter it gets, the more active and aggressive the ticks become.

The binational research team included academic researchers, health workers, epidemiologists, veterinarians, agency officials, medical doctors and students, who aided in the need to communicate in Spanish and English, address canine and human disease, understand fundamental epidemiological patterns, and protect public health. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and the Autonomous University of Baja California funded the work.

Source: UC Davis


Ticks are marvelous ecoadaptors and can survive anything. Climate change has been disproven regarding tick proliferation and the spread of Lyme/MSIDS:

“For blacklegged ticks, climate change is an apocryphal issue.” – John Scott M.Sc. Research Scientist
“The comments that an increase in tick numbers is ‘spurred on by climate change’ is strictly bias; this point is clearly unfounded.” John Scott

Why are we STILL talking about climate change?


For an excellent interview with John Scott: (He also explains the bogus Lyme vaccine as well)


Septic Shock Caused by RMSF in Suburban Texas Patient With Pet Dog Exposure: A Case Report

. 2018; 19: 917–919.
Published online 2018 Aug 4. doi: 10.12659/AJCR.909636
PMCID: PMC6091339
PMID: 30076285

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.

Case Report:

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.

Two days later, she worsened with confusion, combativeness, dyspnea, and ataxia. She got multiple recent bug bites from her pet dogs sleeping in her bed. The dogs were not up to date on flea and tick medication but were healthy and showed no sign of illness.
  • 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.
Positive findings were R. typhi IgM 1: 1024 (normal <1: 64), R. Rickettsii IgM 1: 1024 (normal <1: 64), IgG 1: 128 (normal <1: 64), and echovirus Ab 1: 80 titer (normal <1: 80). The Rickettsial titers were repeated for possible cross-reactivity and R. typhi antibodies were noted to be negative (<1: 64).
Although R.typhi was ruled out due to cross-reactivity, I believe we will start seeing more of this strain in the future.
The patient improved on doxycycline, the drug of choice for RMSF and was discharged.
Why isn’t there a full-out media blitz on this like there was on Zika?

Going Outside? Watch Out For Asian Longhorned Tick Now in Kentucky–510400381.html  News Story in Link

Going outside? Watch out for unusual tick found in Eastern Kentucky

By WYMT News Staff

MARTIN COUNTY, KY. (WAVE) – It’s Memorial Day weekend and more people will head outside as the summer season kicks off. While you’re out having fun, be sure to keep an eye out for a tick that is new to the area.

This year’s tick season is different in Kentucky because a new tick has popped up in our area.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has received more calls about seeing ticks, but reports that incidents of tick-borne diseases in the state are very low.

People still need to use precautions because ticks are out there. They’re looking to suck blood three times in their lives in order to reproduce. This year’s tick season is different in Kentucky because a new tick has popped up in our area.

“The most common ticks we have are the Lone Star Ticks and the American Dog Tick,” Spencer County Agriculture agent Bryce Roberts said. “The new one we found is the Asian Longhorned Tick.”

Roberts said the Asian Longhorned Tick was found in Eastern Kentucky, in Martin County.

It’s very concerning because of the diseases they do carry,” Roberts said.

New ticks bring new diseases. Before or when someone gets a tick disease, they see epidemiologist Dr. Paul Schulz.

“The two we encounter the most are Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,” Schulz said.

Schulz said the infectious disease department at Norton Healthcare found its first tick-borne disease of the year in March, a sign that tick season could be starting early.

“(In) well over 50 percent of diagnosed infections, the patient didn’t know they had tick exposure,” Schulz said.

People often don’t see or feel when a tick is biting them. However, there are ways to protect yourself and your summer experience: Cover up as much of your skin as you can, use a spray with DEET, avoid overgrown wooded areas, check yourself and your children every night.


For more: this tick exists, it is an important vector of human and animal disease agents. In China and Japan, it transmits the severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV), which causes a human hemorrhagic fever (2), and Rickettsia japonica, which causes Japanese spotted fever (3). Studies in Asia identified ticks infected with various species of Anaplasma, Babesia, Borrelia, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia, and all of these pathogen groups circulate zoonotically in the United States (4,5). In addition, parthenogenetic reproduction, a biologic characteristic of this species, allows a single introduced female tick to generate progeny without mating, thus resulting in massive host infestations.


Authorities have been relatively mum on what this tick transmits and I’ve had to dig to find it.  So far there are no noted human illnesses caused by this tick in the U.S., but the ones listed above have occurred other countries.  Do they really think this tick isn’t going to acquire disease and transmit here?  Maybe in an alternative reality, but then again, the CDC lives in an alternative reality.






CDC Creates Interactive Training For Diagnosis, Management of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

CDC Creates Interactive Training for Diagnosis, Management of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Press Release

For Immediate Release, Monday, May 13, 2019
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a first-of-its-kind education module to help clinicians recognize and diagnose Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), a sometimes serious and fatal disease spread by the bite of an infected tick.

“Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be deadly if not treated early – yet cases often go unrecognized because the signs and symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “With tickborne diseases on the rise in the U.S., this training will better equip healthcare providers to identify, diagnose, and treat this potentially fatal disease.”

The module includes scenarios based on real cases to help healthcare providers recognize the early signs of RMSF and differentiate it from similar diseases. Continuing education credit is available for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, veterinarians, nurses, epidemiologists, public health professionals, educators, and health communicators.

In 2017, a record number of cases of tickborne spotted fever rickettsiosisexternal icon, including RMSF, were reported to the CDC. While the number of spotted fever cases in 2017 is striking (6,248 cases, up from 4,269 the previous year), fewer than 1% of those cases had sufficient laboratory evidence to be confirmed, pointing to the need to better train health care providers on the best methods to diagnose tickborne diseases.

RMSF is treatable with doxycycline, the antibiotic of choice in people of all ages. Disability and death from RMSF can be prevented when doxycycline is prescribed within the first five days of illness, meaning that early recognition and treatment can save lives. RMSF begins with non-specific symptoms such as fever and headache, and sometimes rash, but when left untreated, the disease can lead to devastating consequences. Severely ill patients may require amputation of fingers, toes, or limbs due to poor blood flow; heart and lung specialty care; and management in intensive care units. Roughly 1 in 5 untreated cases are fatal. Half of those deaths occur within the first 8 days of illness.

For more information about Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other rickettsial diseases:


CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.


For More:  Excerpt:

It’s usually spread by the American dog tick and the closely related Rocky Mountain wood tick. But in recent years the bacterial infection has also been spread by the brown dog tick — a completely different species.

The researchers were investigating an epidemic of the infection that broke out in the border town of Mexicali starting in 2008. It’s already sickened at least 4,000 people, according to Mexican government estimates. Several hundred have died, and at least four people have died in the U.S. after crossing the border, according to this report and others.

Again, testing is abysmal.  Doctors NEED education.

If interested:


Rickettsiales in Ticks Removed From Outdoor Workers From Georgia & Florida

Volume 25, Number 5—May 2019

Research Letter

Rickettsiales in Ticks Removed from Outdoor Workers, Southwest Georgia and Northwest Florida, USA

Elizabeth R. Gleim1Comments to Author , L. Mike Conner, Galina E. Zemtsova, Michael L. Levin, Pamela Wong, Madeleine A. Pfaff, and Michael J. Yabsley  DOI: 10.3201/eid2505.180438

The southeastern United States has multiple tick species that can transmit pathogens to humans. The most common tick species, Amblyomma americanum, is the vector for the causative agents of human ehrlichioses and southern tick-associated rash illness, among others (1). Dermacentor variabilis ticks can transmit the causative agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ixodes scapularis ticks can transmit the causative agents of Lyme disease, babesiosis, and human granulocytic anaplasmosis (1). Although less common in the region, A. maculatum ticks are dominant in specific habitats and can transmit the causative agent of Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis (1).

Persons who have occupations that require them to be outside on a regular basis might have a greater risk for acquiring a tickborne disease (2). Although numerous studies have been conducted regarding risks for tickborne diseases among forestry workers in Europe, few studies have been performed in the United States (2,3). The studies that have been conducted in the United States have focused on forestry workers in the northeastern region (2). However, because of variable phenology and densities of ticks, it is useful to evaluate tick activity and pathogen prevalence in various regions and ecosystems.

Burn-tolerant and burn-dependent ecosystems, such as pine (Pinus spp.) and mixed pine forests commonly found in the southeastern United States, have unique tick dynamics compared with those of other habitats (4). The objective of this study was to determine the tick bite risk and tickborne pathogen prevalence in ticks removed from forestry workers working in pine and mixed pine forests in southwest Georgia and northwest Florida, USA.

During June 2009–December 2011, forestry workers in southwestern Georgia (7 counties) and northwestern Florida (1 county) submitted ticks crawling on or attached to them. We identified ticks and tested them for selected pathogens (Appendix). Immature forms of the same species from the same day and person were pooled (<5 nymphs and <20 larvae) for testing.

A total of 53 persons submitted 362 ticks (Table). Excluding larvae, the most common tick species submitted was A. maculatum, followed by A. americanum, I. scapularis, and D. variabilis. On 4 occasions, 1 person submitted A. tuberculatum ticks (3 batches of larvae and 1 batch of nymphs) from a longleaf pine site in Baker County, Georgia. Average submissions per persons were 2.6 ticks (median 1 tick), but 1 person submitted 100 ticks. A total of 24 persons submitted ticks more than once, and they submitted an average of 0.08–6.5 ticks/month (overall average submission rate of 1.1 ticks/month). Three ticks were engorged (1 D. variabilis adult, 1 A. americanum nymph, and 1 Amblyomma sp. nymph); only the Amblyomma sp. nymph was positive for a pathogen (R. amblyommatis).

  • Rickettsia spp. prevalence was 36.4% in adult, 27.9% in nymphal, and 20% in larval A. americanum ticks; R. amblyommatis was the only species identified (Table).
  • Rickettsia spp. were detected in 23% of A. maculatum adults; R. amblyommatis was most common (6.0%), followed by R. parkeri (4.8%).
  • A previously detected novel Rickettsia sp. was identified in 10 of 11 A. tuberculatum larval pools and was reported by Zemtsova et al. (6). An additional pool of A. tuberculatum nymphs was tested in this study and also was positive for the novel Rickettsia sp.
  • E. chaffeensis was detected in 1 A. maculatum adult (prevalence 1.2%), and Panola mountain Ehrlichia sp. was detected in 2 A. maculatum adults (prevalence 2.4%) and 1 D. variabilis adult (prevalence 10%).
  • No ticks were positive for Borrelia spp., E. ewingii, or Anaplasma phagocytophilum.

Thus, forestry workers were found to encounter ticks on a regular basis, and peak encounter rates reflected previously reported tick seasonality in this region (4). Only 3 (0.8%) of the ticks submitted were engorged, indicating prompt removal of most ticks and thus low risk for pathogen transmission. A. maculatum, a fairly uncommon tick in the southeastern United States, was the most commonly submitted tick. However, A. maculatum ticks dominate in regularly burned pine ecosystems (4), which is where most of these workers spent their time.

We observed several unique findings related to pathogens during this study. Larvae and nymphs of A. tuberculatum ticks were submitted on multiple occasions, a tick rarely reported on humans (7). These findings in conjunction with the identification of a novel Rickettsia sp. (6), suggest that additional research is warranted. This study also identified E. chaffeensis and Panola Mountain Ehrlichia in A. maculatum ticks. Although A. americanum ticks are considered the primary vector of Ehrlichia spp., these pathogens have been occasionally reported in questing A. maculatum ticks, suggesting that this tick might be involved in their transmission cycles (5,8). We also detected Panola Mountain Ehrlichia in 1 D. variabilis tick. Thus, further research regarding these alternative tick species as potential vectors of these pathogens is warranted, particularly in the case of A. maculatum ticks, which were a common species on forestry workers and are widespread in this region (4).

At the time of this study, Dr. Gleim was a research scientist at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA. She is currently a disease ecologist at Hollins University, Roanoke, VA. Her research interests include wildlife and zoonotic diseases with a particular emphasis on tickborne diseases.


We thank the persons whom submitted ticks for this study and members of the Yabsley and Levin laboratories for providing laboratory assistance.

This study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/University of Georgia (UGA) collaborative grant (#8212, Ecosystem Health and Human Health: Understanding the Ecological Effects of Prescribed Fire Regimes on the Distribution and Population Dynamics of Tick-Borne Zoonoses); the Oxford Research Scholars Program at Oxford College of Emory University; the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources (UGA); the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (UGA) through the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration Act (50 Statute 917); and Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study sponsorship from fish and wildlife agencies of member states.


  1. Stromdahl  EY, Hickling  GJ. Beyond Lyme: aetiology of tick-borne human diseases with emphasis on the south-eastern United States. Zoonoses Public Health. 2012;59(Suppl 2):4864. DOIPubMed
  2. Covert  DJ, Langley  RL. Infectious disease occurrence in forestry workers: a systematic review. J Agromed. 2002;8:95111. DOIPubMed
  3. Lee  S, Kakumanu  ML, Ponnusamy  L, Vaughn  M, Funkhouser  S, Thornton  H, et al. Prevalence of Rickettsiales in ticks removed from the skin of outdoor workers in North Carolina. Parasit Vectors. 2014;7:607. DOIPubMed
  4. Gleim  ER, Conner  LM, Berghaus  RD, Levin  ML, Zemtsova  GE, Yabsley  MJ. The phenology of ticks and the effects of long-term prescribed burning on tick population dynamics in southwestern Georgia and northwestern Florida. PLoS One. 2014;9:e112174. DOIPubMed
  5. Loftis  AD, Kelly  PJ, Paddock  CD, Blount  K, Johnson  JW, Gleim  ER, et al. Panola Mountain Ehrlichia in Amblyomma maculatum From the United States and Amblyomma variegatum (Acari: Ixodidae) From the Caribbean and Africa. J Med Entomol. 2016;53:6968. DOIPubMed
  6. Zemtsova  GE, Gleim  E, Yabsley  MJ, Conner  LM, Mann  T, Brown  MD, et al. Detection of a novel spotted fever group Rickettsia in the gophertortoise tick. J Med Entomol. 2012;49:7836. DOIPubMed
  7. Goddard  J. A ten-year study of tick biting in Mississippi: implications for human disease transmission. J Agromed. 2002;8:2532. DOIPubMed
  8. Allerdice  ME, Hecht  JA, Karpathy  SE, Paddock  CD. Evaluation of Gulf Coast ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) for Ehrlichia and Anaplasma species. J Med Entomol. 2017;54:4814.




Again, folks down South should be taken seriously when they present with symptoms.  BTW: Southern advocates tell me that STARI looks, smells, and feels just like Lyme disease.  

Lyme IS in the South:

The take home: Clark is finding borrelia (Lyme) strains in the South that the current CDC two-tier testing will never pick up in a thousand years.

The take home: Clark found live Bbsl (bissettii-like strain) in people from the Southeast who had undefined disorders not typical of LD, and were treated for LD even though they were seronegative, proving that B. bissetti is responsible for worldwide human infection.

He also showed DNA of Bbsl in Lone Star ticks which might be a bridge vector of transmission to humans.

Dr. Clark was the first to report finding LD spirochetes in animals and ticks in South Carolina, as well as in wild lizards in South Carolina and Florida. He has documented the presence of LD Borrelia species, Babesia microti, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Rickettsia species, and other tick-borne pathogens in wild animals, ticks, dogs, and humans in Florida and other southern states.

Clark is infected.  Surprised?  This is why he’s finding answers – it’s much more than a job to him.

Time to start believing people!