Colorado tick fever is an infection caused by a virus that spreads after sustaining a bite from a disease-ridden Dermacentor andersoni wood tick. This species is commonly called as the Rocky Mountain wood tick. This disease is limited to western United States and Canada. One faces a higher risk if spending a lot of time outside in areas infested by ticks.
Ticks are usually found in wooded areas and fields. These parasites feed on blood from animals and humans to survive. It is sad to note that they are frequently the transporters of certain diseases and can pass it on to humans. Colorado tick fever is included as one of the diseases that ticks transmit.
What are the symptoms?
- Fever up to 105 degrees F
- Severe headache
- Muscle aches
- Sensitivity to light
- Tenderness of the skin
- Appetite loss
- Faint rashes
- Weakness and fatigue
- Abdominal pain
Remember that the symptoms of Colorado tick fever usually take at least 3 days to develop. If symptoms occur after being bit by a tick, it is likely due to another condition. A doctor should be consulted if severe symptoms of the condition develop or symptoms do not seem to improve in a week.
Causes of Colorado tick fever
Always bear in mind that Colorado tick fever is brought upon by the Colorado tick fever virus. This virus is spread via a bite of an infested tick. The chief transporter of the virus is the Rocky Mountain wood tick that is typically found in the western part of United States. These ticks thrive in wooded areas usually above 5,000 feet high.
How is it diagnosed
The doctor will come up with a diagnosis by performing a physical exam along with various laboratory tests such as the following:
- Complete blood count – this measures the amount of white blood cells, platelets and red blood cells in the body.
- Compliment fixation antibody test – this test determines if antibodies to the virus are present in the blood. If the antibodies are found, a diagnosis of the condition is made.
- Liver function tests – these tests assess how well the liver is working by measuring the levels of liver enzymes, proteins and bilirubin in the blood.
Even today, there is no precise way to manage Colorado tick fever. When the symptoms manifest, they eventually improve within 10 days. The muscle pain and fever can be treated using acetaminophen and other pain medications. The individual should get enough rest and keep the body properly hydrated.
The tick should also be removed right away. If you could not remove the entire tick from the skin, it is best to consult a doctor.