Kids may have gone back to school, making summer seem officially over, but there is still plenty of warm weather expected in the Upstate. And even at summer’s end, our fantastic fall weather keeps us outside in full force. Mountain hikes, apple picking…it’s just the perfect time of year. But the bugs are still out. Ticks will be right there on the path with you, as you absorb the beginning of the Fall color change; ticks that might be carrying Rocky Mountain Spotted fever.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Know the Facts
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, RMSF, is transmitted to humans by an infected American Dog Tick, Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, or Brown Dog Tick. The Clemson University Entomology department contributes most cases in this part of the country to the American dog tick. Symptoms of RMSF usually set in 2-14 days after a tick bite. In the beginning, they are often nonspecific. Fever, rash, headache, stomach pain and vomiting, conjunctivitis, joint pain: an infected person may have any combination of these basic flu-like symptoms.
A spotty rash that usually starts at the wrists and ankles is a more specific symptom but often doesn’t appear until several days into the the illness, and about 10% of those infected will not get the rash at all. Most people can be successfully treated with antibiotics. For those not treated this illness can be very dangerous. RMSF damages your smallest blood vessels. When it goes untreated, it can lead to encephalitis, inflammation of the heart and lungs, kidney failure, infection and amputation, even death. Untreated the death rate is nearly 75%.
It is imperative that if you know that you or a family member has been bitten by a tick, you keep very aware of the onset of any of the above symptoms. Especially for small children. The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene say that “Children 5–9 years of age appeared at highest risk for fatal outcome.” The CDC also rates children under the age of 10 at the greatest risk for fatality.
North and South Carolina are High-Risk Zones: Protect Yourself
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is reported over most of the country, but some states have a much higher rate than others. North Carolina is one of the top 5, with an annual occurrence of 19-63 cases per million people. South Carolina has the second highest rate of 1.5-19 cases per million. And here in the Upstate that puts us right on the line. Keep yourself protected. Use the appropriate bug spray and clothing, especially on those trips that keep you near trees and wooded areas. Check for ticks and if you find one, carefully remove it and make note of it. Write down the date and watch for symptoms.
At home, you can let us help. Mosquito Squad of Greenville has a comprehensive tick control program with a barrier spray that eliminates 85-90% of adult ticks in your yard. We can further your protection with our tick tube system by helping to eliminate ticks at the beginning of their lifecycle. Knowing that children have a higher risk factor, prevention is the best plan of defense. Call us today and let us create the best control program for your situation. 864-277-4299