RMSF: A Preventable Epidemic

Preventing tick bites and treating Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) early among American Indian tribes in Arizona may avoid premature death and disability and save millions of dollars, according to the CDC.

In a recent study, CDC and Indian Health Service experts linked an estimated $13.2 million in losses to the epidemic on 2 Indian reservations between 2002 and 2011. More than 1/2 of the 15 deaths were among children, raising the long-term social costs of the epidemic.

Since the average time from the beginning of symptoms to death is only 8 days, doctors should administer the antibiotic doxycycline as soon as they suspect RMSF.

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