Rocky Mountain spotted fever
and typhus fever group
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infections are caused by a variety of bacteria, and are most often
transmitted to humans by infected fleas, lice, mites, and ticks.
Rickettsial infections include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus
fever group, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF)
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) belongs to the
spotted fever rickettsial group of tickborne infections. RMSF disease is
caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, transmitted to humans by
the bite of an infected American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and
other tick species. Onset of illness begins about 1 week after an
infected tick bite. Symptoms of illness include acute onset of fever,
headache, malaise, myalgia, nausea, vomiting, rash. Severe illness may
involve neurologic symptoms. Clinical laboratory findings may include
thrombocytopenia, lymphopenia, leucopenia, and elevated live enzymes.
Only 13 cases were reported in Wisconsin between 2007 and 2010. Most of
these infections were acquired outside of Wisconsin.
Typhus fever group (Murine typhus)
Typhus fever is a tickborne rickettsial disease caused
by the bacterium Rickettsia typhi, transmitted by fleas (rodents, flying
squirrels, other small mammals) and human body lice. Typhus fever cases
have been reported among travelers to Asia, Africa, and southern Europe.
In the United States, cases have been reported from California, Hawaii, and
Tickborne infections home
Mountain spotted fever fact sheet (PDF, 16 KB) Hmong (PDF,
15 KB) Spanish (PDF,
Prevention and control of tickborne
Rocky Mountain spotted fever - CDC
health information - CDC
Information for health professionals
Typhus fever is not notifiable in Wisconsin or nationally reportable, but because of cross-reactivity in serologic
testing to spotted fever rickettsial group (including RMSF),
investigation of laboratory positive reports may be necessary to rule
out RMSF infection.
Local Health Departments - Regional offices - Tribal agencies
Diep Hoang Johnson
Vectorborne Disease Epidemiologist
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Bureau of Communicable Diseases and Emergency Response
(Phone 608-267-0249) (Fax 608-261-4976)
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June 13, 2012