Colorado tick fever

The Colorado tick fever virus spreads via infected tick bites. Most reported cases occur during the spring and summer months when ticks are highly active.

What are the indications?

The incubation period usually ranges between 1-14 days. The usual symptoms of Colorado tick fever include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
    Colorado tick fever

    In most cases, the condition is mild and full recovery can be achieved. Nevertheless, fatigue and weakness might linger for several weeks.

  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Tiredness

Some also experience vomiting, abdominal pain, sore throat or a skin rash. In almost half of cases, “biphasic fever” develops in which fever is present for several days followed by a period where the individual feels better and then end up with a second brief period of fever and sickness.

In most cases, the condition is mild and full recovery can be achieved. Nevertheless, fatigue and weakness might linger for several weeks. In rare instances, some develop significant illness that involves the central nervous system with signs such as confusion and stiff neck.

How does it spread?

The Colorado tick fever virus is an RNA virus belonging to the genus Coltivirus. An individual can become infected by the virus from a bite from an infected Rocky Mountain wood tick.

The ticks become infected if they feed on the blood of an animal with the virus circulating in its bloodstream such as chipmunks, squirrels and mice. Once a tick becomes diseased, it passes on the virus to another host as it feeds.

Management

There are no available medications to manage Colorado tick fever infection. If a family member is suspected with the condition, a doctor must be consulted.

In severe cases, hospitalization is required. The treatment might include intravenous fluids and medications to lower down the pain and fever.

Individuals with Colorado tick fever should not donate blood or bone marrow for up to 6 months after the ailment. The virus might remain in the red blood cells for a number of months and can be transmitted to others via blood transfusion or bone marrow transplant.

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