|Michael F. Easley
|Carmen Hooker Odom
For Release: IMMEDIATE
|Contact: Debbie Crane|
CDC Confirms NC Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Death
RALEIGH – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that a Guilford County woman’s death was the result of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). Public health officials say that deaths from the disease are rare, but the case highlights the need for preventing tick bites.
“This is a serious illness, but it can be largely prevented by limiting exposure to tick bites,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Jeffrey Engel. “North Carolina and Oklahoma account for the most cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the country, so we need to be particularly vigilant here.”
The 61-year-old woman died in May. At the time, her attending physicians diagnosed RMSF as the cause of death. A skin rash biopsy was submitted to CDC for confirmation, and the CDC recently confirmed that RMSF was the cause. It isn’t unusual for there to be a significant lag time between the RMSF death and the official lab confirmation.
The last North Carolina Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever death occurred in 2005. There were 862 cases in North Carolina last year – 261 cases have been reported this year.
According to the CDC, key symptoms are fever, muscle pain, headache and rash. The majority of patients are hospitalized.
You can limit your exposure to ticks by:
If you are bitten by a tick, quick removal of the tick reduces the chance of infection. To remove a tick:
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