The CDC is cautioning the American public regarding a recent surge in Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) cases in California. The notable increase in incidents observed from July to December is prompting apprehension about the potential dissemination of severe tick-borne diseases.
As per an official notification released on December 8, the CDC identified five individuals, all diagnosed with RMSF between July and December. Each of them had either visited or returned from Tecate, Mexico, within the two weeks preceding the onset of their illness.
The five individuals mentioned in this advisory sought medical attention at hospitals in Southern California, where they were admitted and received treatment for RMSF. The CDC, respecting privacy, did not disclose their names but shared that three of them are American citizens, while the other two are Mexican residents. It’s noteworthy that at least four of these patients are below 18 years of age.
Three individuals mentioned in the advisory succumbed to their illness. It remained uncertain whether the remaining two patients had recuperated or were still in the process of recovery.
The bacterium responsible for RMSF, scientifically identified as Rickettsia rickettsii, is predominantly transmitted by a particular variety of brown dog tick. According to the CDC, this specific insect is widespread, referred to as “endemic,” in the majority of northern Mexico and is found in many warmer climates. It primarily affects domestic dogs, serving as a means for easy transmission to humans.
However, if left untreated, RMSF can swiftly advance and pose a life-threatening risk. Remarkably, almost all individuals who succumb to the infection do so within a mere eight days of contracting it.
Though this may seem alarming, there is no immediate cause for panic concerning RMSF. Early administration of the antibiotic doxycycline is frequently effective in stopping the progression of the illness. The CDC advises individuals experiencing symptoms to promptly consult a doctor for testing and to conduct regular tick checks after outdoor activities, particularly if they have recently visited Tecate, Mexico.
Dr. Marc Siegel from NYU Langone Medical Center expressed significant apprehensions to Fox News Digital about the potential for porous borders to enable the migration of ticks. He highlighted that the majority of cases predominantly occur in Mexico rather than within the borders of the United States.