This announcement comes a couple weeks after a San Diego resident died of the disease.
Late last month, I reported that public health officials warned the public to be aware of tickborne illnesses after a San Diego resident died from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).
Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning after two more people in California died as a result of the tick-borne illness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that an outbreak of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in southern California has led to three deaths.
The bacterial disease is spread through the bite of an infected tick and can cause a headache, fever and rash, according to the CDC.
Per the announcement, there have been a total of five reported cases — all patients had recently been in Tecate, Mexico.
They were diagnosed in late July and suffered from symptoms two weeks after departing Tecate, the CDC said, adding that one was an adult and four were pediatric patients under 18. Children under the age of 10 are five times more likely to die from RMSF than adults, the CDC said.
As I noted in my original report, there is an epidemic level in Northern Mexico due to widespread tick infestation in dogs, which eventually latch onto humans in contact with them.
Medical professionals are expressing concerns that the ticks are traveling north into this country, due to the steady stream of illegal immigrants crossing our borders.
Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, told Fox News Digital that the cases are still isolated, but that he does have some concerns.
“What’s most interesting about these cases is that they are occurring in Mexico, and I do worry that with our porous borders, these ticks carrying disease could cross [into the U.S.] with migrants.”
The bacteria that cause the fever, Rickettsia rickettsii, are spread by brown dog ticks, which are reddish brown and often found on domestic canines.
Other doctors noted the significant fatality rate associated with the California cases, as well as how fast the disease can take hold in an infected person.
Dr. William Schaffner,a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said that the warning was a surprise to him.
“I was stunned when I saw that report… from the CDC that they had five cases acquired in Mexico, seen in the United States, and three died. That’s an incredible fatality rate, which means that the infection wasn’t thought of right away,” Schaffner said. The CDC describes the pace of RMSF as “rapidly progressive” and Schaffner says that medical professionals need to be aware that a rash may not always be present.
“We have since come to learn that particularly early in the infection, and maybe never, a rash may not develop. In which case, we call those illnesses Rocky Mountain spotless fever,” Schaffner said. “So, you have to know that you can’t rely on the rash to trigger your thinking about the diagnosis.”
Antibiotics are effective against the bacteria, but the infection can be potentially fatal without treatment.
Symptoms can at first appear mild over the first 1-4 days of infection, including a “low-moderate fever, headache, gastrointestinal symptoms, abdominal pain, myalgia, rash, and edema around the eyes and on the back of hands,” the notice says.
After about five days, however, the CDC says disease can cause “altered mental status, coma, cerebral edema, respiratory compromise, necrosis, and multiorgan system damage.”
Half of those who die from RMSF do so within 8 days of contracting the illness. In Mexico, the fatality rate is a staggering 40%, according to the [CDC].
RSMF can be treated with the antibiotic Doxycycline, which is recommended to be administered as soon as possible.
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