Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is an illness caused by infection with the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. It is spread by the bite of an infected tick. Symptoms range from moderately severe to life-threatening. In the eastern United States, RMSF is primarily transmitted by the bite of the American dog tick. RMSF has been reported from all areas of the country, but there have been no illnesses reported in Vermont.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Fact Sheet
Symptoms, Risk, Treatment, and Prevention
- How to safely remove a tick
- More information
Try to remove the tick as soon as you discover it because prompt removal can prevent transmission of tick-borne diseases.
1. Use fine-tipped tweezers and firmly grasp the tick close to the skin. Avoid touching the tick with your bare hands
2. With a steady motion, pull straight up until all parts of the tick are removed. Do not twist or jerk the tick. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Once the mouthparts are removed from the rest of the tick, it can no longer transmit disease-causing bacteria.
DO NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products to remove a tick. These methods are neffective.
Thoroughly wash your hands and the bite area
After removing the tick, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Clean the tick bite with soap and water or use an antiseptic such as iodine scrub or rubbing alcohol.
- Vermont Department of Health, Epidemiology Field Unit
1-800-640-4374 (in VT only), or 1-802-863-7240.