Travelers to Mexico State Warned of Life-Threatening Tick Disease

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News Team

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted through pet ticks. These ticks are commonly found in hiking trails and green or wooded areas, especially during the wetter months. However, in places where stray dogs are common, such as Baja California, the risk of RMSF is year-round. Cases have also been detected in the Mexican states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Nuevo León.

A travel alert, level 1, was issued to warn travelers about the risk of RMSF. If travelers develop symptoms during their trip or within two weeks of returning to the United States, they should seek medical attention. Symptoms of RMSF include fever, headache, and a red, blotchy rash. The disease can progress rapidly and can be fatal if not treated in time with the antibiotic doxycycline. Children under age 10 are five times more likely to die from RMSF.

To protect themselves from RMSF, people can use insect repellent and appropriate clothing. It is also important to use control products on pets to prevent these types of diseases. If bitten by a tick, it should be carefully removed with tweezers. The tick can be saved for identification, as only certain ticks transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

A San Diego, California resident who traveled to Baja California died last month after contracting RMSF. While Rocky Mountain fever is a year-round risk in the Baja California region, San Diego County typically has one to three cases each year. All three resident cases reported so far this year had traveled to areas where Rocky Mountain spotted fever is more common.

In addition to RMSF, another tick-borne disease that has been on the rise in the United States is babesiosis. This disease is caused by a parasite that infects red blood cells. Symptoms of babesiosis include fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue. It is important to take precautions to prevent tick bites and seek medical attention if symptoms develop.

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