Rocky mt spotted fever outbreak in north baja

mtgoat666 - 12-9-2023 at 12:45 PM


An outbreak of the tickborne disease Rocky Mountain spotted fever has caused at least five illnesses, including three deaths, in the US since July, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday.

The five cases were identified in Southern California and involved people who had traveled to Tecate, Baja California, in the previous two weeks. Four were under age 18, and three were US residents, the agency said in a health alert. All five were hospitalized, and three died.

The CDC is warning health care providers that if a patient has symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and has recently traveled to northern Mexico, they should consider starting treatment with the antibiotic doxycycline right away, rather than waiting for test results to confirm the condition.

“RMSF is a severe, rapidly progressive, and often deadly disease transmitted by the bite of infected ticks, although many patients do not recall being bitten by a tick,” the agency notes. It’s endemic in northern Mexico and in parts of the southwestern US, where it can be transmitted by brown dog ticks. It does not spread from person to person.

Signs of infection can be mild in the first few days, including a low fever, headache, stomach problems, abdominal pain, rash and swelling around the eyes and on the back of the hands. On or after about five days, someone may develop changes in mental state, coma, brain swelling, respiratory problems and multiorgan damage. It’s fatal in 5% to 10% of cases, with about half of those deaths happening within eight days of the onset of illness.

Anyone who’s traveled to northern Mexico and develops symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever within two weeks of their return to the US should get medical attention right away, the CDC says. Protect against tick bites by treating pet dogs, using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing when outdoors. Check yourself and children for ticks after spending time outdoors or around dogs, and immediately remove any ticks you find


[Edited on 12-9-2023 by mtgoat666]

AKgringo - 12-9-2023 at 01:38 PM

They may be called "dog ticks", but they are opportunistic and will feed on just about any animal they can hitch a ride on. I have even found ticks on snakes and lizards, although I have no idea what species they were.

You are exposed to ticks when you pass through vegetation that whatever host animal with ticks passed through. A well-fed tick drops off of the host and produces the next generation, which climbs up whatever grass or weeds are there and waits to grab on to the next critter to pass that way.

Not science, but my personal experience is that they are at the worst after the first shower following a dry period. I pulled three off of my dog yesterday (two different species).

Yes, you can acquire ticks directly from your pets, but that is not the only way they can get to you.

surabi - 12-9-2023 at 02:20 PM

Some summers are really bad for ticks where I live in the PV area. My since passed away dog used to be loaded with them some years- I could pull off 30 a day. I have no idea what kind of ticks they were.

Here's a tip for dog owners. Ticks hate tea tree oil. So I used to put some water and some tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spray my dog down with it, and also add the oil to my dog shampoo, which helped a lot.

Make sure to check your dog 's ears and between their toes- ticks love to wedge themselves into all the little ear folds and articulations. And since it's really hard to remove them from the ears, dip a q-tip in tea tree oil and use it to get in there and swab them out. I don't know if the oil killed the ticks, or just stunned them, but they would instantly let go and be on the end of the q-tip, unmoving.

And never squish a swollen tick- you can be releasing hundreds of eggs. Just have a little bowl or saucer with some rubbing alcohol to drop them into, which will kill them.

[Edited on 12-9-2023 by surabi]

bajaric - 12-9-2023 at 06:00 PM

Ticks are disgusting.

Here is a link to a Washington post article. 2000 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Northern Baja in the past five years. Sadly, three children deceased in Ejido Padre Kino, near San Quintin.

One of the points the article makes is that RMSF was apparently not known to be carried by dog ticks until it started appearing on an Indian Reservation in Arizona in 2003. Before then it was only known to be carried by a different kind of tick that lived in the forest.

Recently someone noted that some motels are no longer allowing dogs; there may be a link.


pacificobob - 12-9-2023 at 06:36 PM

In the mid 70s in central America, after back packing several days in the jungle
Wearing shorts,(should have known better) my best pal from our time in Viet Nam spent several evenings around the camp fire picking ticks out of each others most private areas with a flashlight.

StuckSucks - 12-9-2023 at 06:48 PM

Washington Post: CDC issues health alert for deadly tick-borne disease

Don Pisto - 12-9-2023 at 07:17 PM

sounds like the key is to get on antibiotics soon as possible, CDC is saying fatal in 5-10 percent of cases here yet in the u.s. .........

"The condition associated with Rickettsia from these types of ticks is known as Rocky Mountain Spotty Fever, and according to the CDC, there are thousands of reported cases in the U.S. each year. Still, the mortality rate is less than 0.5%.

“With the treatment of antibiotics, people often get better, and it tends to have low mortality when treatments are available,” said Murillo."

get on those antibiotics if you think you may have it neighbors!

surabi - 12-9-2023 at 07:42 PM

If you are walking around in areas where there could be ticks, and it's too hot out for socks and boots and long pants, i.e. all covered up, if you apply vaseline to any exposed skin, the ticks can't latch on. I prefer that to covering myself with insecticide.

[Edited on 12-10-2023 by surabi]

AKgringo - 12-9-2023 at 08:38 PM

I am fortunate that in all my trips to Baja with two different dogs, I have not had to deal with ticks on them or myself. I have not spent much time near the border though.

pacificobob - 12-10-2023 at 11:51 AM

I would consider relocation before needing a tick twister

surabi - 12-10-2023 at 02:15 PM

Quote: Originally posted by pacificobob  
I would consider relocation before needing a tick twister

"Today, ticks can be found in all 50 states and around the world. While they can be found everywhere, different types of ticks are in different areas and may carry different types of diseases." › blog
Types of Ticks: Identification, Species & Diseases they Carry

[Edited on 12-10-2023 by surabi]

BajaMama - 12-11-2023 at 10:40 AM

The safest way to remove a tick is with a pair of very fine/narrow tipped tweezers. You need to be very careful that you are grasping the mouth close to the skin, then gently pull so that the tick releases its bite.

My husband mountain bikes in the Northern California spring and ticks get on him. We do a full body scan when he gets home and remove/inspect as necessary.

Oh, and I found this:

[Edited on 12-11-2023 by BajaMama]

surabi - 12-11-2023 at 05:07 PM

Or, as I mentioned above, just put tea tree oil on the tick with a Qtip- they unlatch and come right off. No need to use tweezers.

pacificobob - 12-11-2023 at 06:04 PM

I have found that ticks come in different sizes in different areas. In chiapas,queroo, and Yucatan, they are tiny little b*****tards. Lots of work to remove.

surabi - 12-11-2023 at 08:12 PM

There are some super tiny ticks where I live. They call them "Guinas" (sp?). You can totally miss them if you don't know what you are looking for- they just look like a little brown speck. But they itch like crazy. Even when you remove them, you think you still have them, because their bites itch for a week afterwards. You usually see a bunch of little red dots on your skin, because they seem to bite, then move a quarter inch and bite again. As far as I know, they don't carry any diseases- they don't even swell up with blood as far as you can see. They especially like the warm spots- behind your knees, in your armpits, but you can find them anywhere on your body.

But they are actually not hard to remove- if you stand in a hot shower and scrub yourself thoroughly with a washcloth and soap, they come off. They don't seem to have a head that burrows way in like larger ticks.

[Edited on 12-12-2023 by surabi]

wilderone - 12-15-2023 at 09:58 AM

sounds disgusting. I wonder if all the people mentioned who had gotten sick had a dog with them. And add Tick Tweezers to The List.

Lyme disease.....

AKgringo - 12-15-2023 at 10:38 AM

When I first started splitting my time between Alaska and California, I was un-aware that Lyme disease was present on the west coast. On one of those trips I got pretty sick with lingering after affects that I attributed to getting older.

It was five or six years later that I realized that it possibly was connected to a nasty tick bite that left the classic red ring on my leg. The symptoms fit, but I never considered the possibility of exposure.

surabi - 12-15-2023 at 12:44 PM

Quote: Originally posted by wilderone  
sounds disgusting. I wonder if all the people mentioned who had gotten sick had a dog with them. And add Tick Tweezers to The List.

??? Getting a tick on you has nothing to do with having a dog with you. In fact, ticks would be much more likely to latch onto the dog than the human. And they tend to stay on the dog until you remove them, rather than go walkabout.

wilderone - 12-16-2023 at 10:26 AM

"Ever wonder if you can get ticks from pets? A study by Jones et al. found that not only can pets transport ticks into the home and onto humans, but the risk of a tick bite is significantly higher for both dog and cat owners."

surabi - 12-16-2023 at 11:46 AM

Of course ticks can transfer from one's pets. I said they "tend" to stay on the dog.

Lots of ticks in my area during the summer months and I occasionally find one on me, but no more often than when my dog was alive, who had a lot I had to remove.

When you really have to be vigilant is if you give the pet tick medication or a tick collar- then they will drop off and not always be dead.

My neighbor had a dog that would always come hang out at my place when she went out, which I didn't mind- I liked the dog, she was an old Dobbie who just quietly laid around. One day she was lying in my living room just after my neighbor had given her some tick treatment and I saw scores of ticks climbing up my living room wall above the dog!

[Edited on 12-16-2023 by surabi]