Two types of ticks are already known to transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever which can develop into a fatal illness. But these two ticks are carried mostly by rodents and dogs that live in the wild.
Scientists have discovered anew tick that causes this disease, a tick that plaques house pets. Ticks are being infected by bacteria, and so far the unaffected ticks are found only in Arizona but it is believed that the tick lives everywhere in the world. The researchers think that the tick bite and the disease are occurring in other places as well but are not diagnosed.
Symptoms of the disease occur 5 to 10 days later and can include fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, lack of appetite and severe headache — signs often mistakenly attributed to common viral ailments. Late symptoms include a spotted rash, abdominal pain, joint pain and diarrhea. Antibiotics, particularly doxycycline, are effective when given early.
Investigation was done under 16 reported cases. Blood and tissue samples confirmed that 11 people had the disease; 5 more were called probable cases. Most were under 12, and two died.
The infected ticks were found in the victims’ yards, would crack into homes from, in the cracks of stucco walls inside homes, in crawl spaces underneath them and on furniture that children played on outside.