Rocky Mountain spotted fever
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Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease caused by Rickettsia rickettsii and causes symptoms like high grade fever, rash, myalgia and headache. The disease was so named as it was first detected in Rocky Mountain States. It was first reported by Edward Ernest Maxey in 1989 and Howard Taylor Ricketts found its relation to tick bites thus lending his name to the causative agent.
This paper will deal with the causative agent, mode of transmission and then go on to the epidemiology of the disease. The clinical symptoms, diagnosis and treatment will also be discussed.
The disease is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii. It is an aerobic organism but is non mobile and is unable to form spores. It belongs to Gram negative coccobacilli category and is unicellular. The cell size varies from 0.3 – 0.5 X 0.8 – 2μm.
R. rickettsii functions as an obligate intracellular parasite and usually demonstrates an endo-symbiotic relationship with cells.
The disease was initially known as Black Measles because of the spots present on the body. All continents have reported cases of RMSF except Antarctica. The incidence of the disease has been on upswing in the past ten years. Around 6 cases per million were reported in the United States in 2010.
Maximum cases of RMSF occur during summer months and the months of June and July show the highest incidence.
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