Managing Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2009 Nov;7(9):1131-7. doi: 10.1586/eri.09.94.


Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by the tick-borne bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. Symptoms range from moderate illness to severe illness, including cardiovascular compromise, coma and death. The disease is prevalent in most of the USA, especially during warmer months. The trademark presentation is fever and rash with a history of tick bite, although tick exposure is unappreciated in over a third of cases. Other signature symptoms include headache and abdominal pain. The antibiotic therapy of choice for R. rickettsii infection is doxycycline. Preventive measures for Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other tick-borne diseases include: wearing long-sleeved, light colored clothing; checking for tick attachment and removing attached ticks promptly; applying topical insect repellent; and treating clothing with permethrin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arachnid Vectors / drug effects
  • Bites and Stings / prevention & control
  • Dermacentor / drug effects
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Insect Repellents / administration & dosage
  • Insecticides / administration & dosage
  • Permethrin / administration & dosage
  • Rickettsia rickettsii / drug effects
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever / diagnosis*
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever / drug therapy*
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever / prevention & control
  • Tetracycline / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Insect Repellents
  • Insecticides
  • Permethrin
  • Tetracycline
  • Doxycycline