Apr 2, 2007 7:12 pm US/Pacific
Tick Tests Positive For Spotted Fever In O.C
(CBS) SANTA ANA, Calif. A tick collected in an Aliso Viejo park tested positive for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which was last confirmed as a human case in Orange County 15 years ago, an official said Monday.
The Pacific Coast Tick was collected in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park on Jan. 29 as part of an ongoing surveillance program and submitted to the California Department of Health Services, Michael Hearst of Orange County Vector Control said.
The testing was performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and results reported to the district on Friday, Hearst said.
The finding will probably lead to increased testing, which is done by dragging a flannel cloth funnel across grasses, picking up ticks that attach themselves, Hearst said.
While Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is rare, it can be fatal in three percent to seven percent of the cases. It is diagnosed mainly based on symptoms, which include fever, headache, muscle aches and nausea. The diagnostic symptom is a rash that can cover much of the body, including the palms and soles of the feet, Hearst said.
However, the rash may not appear in about 10 percent of the cases, which can leave the disease undetected, he said.
The tick carrying the bacteria is one of two common species in Orange County. The other is the American Dog Tick, he said.
There is no effective way to control ticks, but people can wear a repellent. Permethrin based products are more effective against ticks than DEET, which is usually recommended for protection against mosquitoes.
Light-colored clothing will make ticks more visible, and careful inspection every two or three hours while outdoors is called for in any tick-infested area. A thorough check at the end of the activity will go a long way towards reducing the likelihood of being bitten by an infected tick and contracting the disease, Hearst said.
The disease is characterized by sudden onset of moderate to high fever, which persists for two or three weeks in untreated cases. Other symptoms are malaise, deep muscle pain, severe headaches, chills and conjunctival infection, he said.
(© 2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report. )
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