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Colorado Tick Fever - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Definition:

Colorado tick fever is a benign infection that results from the Colorado tick fever arbovirus and is transmitted to humans by a tick. Colorado tick fever occurs in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States, mostly in April and May at lower altitudes and in June and July at higher altitudes. Because of occupational or recreational exposure, it's more common in men than in women. Colorado tick fever apparently confers long-lasting immunity against reinfection .

Causes of Colorado tick fever

Colorado tick fever is transmitted to humans by a hard-shelled wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni. The adult tick acquires the virus when it bites infected rodents and remains permanently infective.

Signs and Symptoms of Colorado tick fever

After a 3- to 6-day incubation period, Colorado tick fever begins abruptly with chills; temperature of 104 F (40° C); severe aching of back, anns, and legs; lethargy; and headache with eye movement. Photophobia, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting may occur. Rare effects include petechial or maculopapular rashes and CNS involvement. Symptoms subside after several days but return within 2 to 3 days and continue for 3 more days before slowly disappearing. Complete recovery usually follows.

Diagnosis of Colorado tick fever

A history of recent exposure to ticks along with moderate to severe leukopenia, complement fixation tests, or virus isolation confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Colorado tick fever

After correct removal of the tick, supportive treatment focuses on relieving symptoms, combating secondary infection, and maintaining fluid balance.

Special Considerations and Prevention Tips for Colorado tick fever

1) Carefully remove the tick by grasping it with forceps or gloved fingers and pulling gently. Be careful not to crush the tick's body. Keep it for identification. Thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water. If thc tick's head remains embedded,surgical removal is necessary. Give a tetanus-diphtheria booster, as ordered.

2) Be alert for secondary infection.

3) Monitor fluid and electrolyte balance, and provide replacement accordingly.

4) Reduce fever with antipyretics and tepid sponge baths.

5) Tell the patient to avoid tick bites by wearing protective clothing (long pants tucked into boots) and carefully checking his body and scalp for ticks several times a day whenever in infested areas.

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