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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Rocky mountain spotted fever

Other Names for this Disease
  • RMSF
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.


Rocky Mountain spotted fever refers to an infection caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsia. This particular bacterium is carried by certain species of ticks and spread to humans through the bites of infected ticks. Signs and symptoms of the condition generally develop approximately 2 to 14 days following the tick bite and may include fever, rash, headache, muscle pain, chills, and/or confusion. Some affected people may also experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, hallucinations, and/or excessive thirst. Most cases occur in the spring and summer and are found in children. Risk factors for developing the condition include recent hiking or exposure to ticks in an area where the disease is known to occur. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is typically treated with antibiotics (such as doxycycline or tetracycline).[1][2][3]
Last updated: 5/3/2016


  1. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 2013;
  2. Rocky Mountain spotted fever. MedlinePlus. May 2015;
  3. Burke A Cunha, MD. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Medscape Reference. October 2015;
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Basic Information

  • You can obtain information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
  • Mayo Clinic has an information page on Rocky mountain spotted fever.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers. 
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Rocky mountain spotted fever. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • RMSF
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.