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What are the symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

Signs of Rocky Mountain spotted fever usually appear between 2 and 14 days after a tick bite.

Initial signs of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include:
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches or pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Severe headache
Later signs include:
  • Rash: The spotted rash usually starts a few days after fever develops. It first appears as small spots on the wrists and ankles. It then spreads to the rest of the body. However, about one-third of persons infected with the illness do not get a rash.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea

Around 2 to 14 days after being infected, individuals develop the initial symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) which include, fever, queasiness, vomiting, muscle pain, extreme exhaustion, and headaches. Since these symptoms can often resemble other illnesses, individuals do not always realize they have RMSF. Later on in the illness, symptoms can include spotted or patchy rash that begins on the wrists and ankles and spreads to the hands and feet, trunk, and face; stomach and joint pain and diarrhea also may occur.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.