Transmitted by tick bites, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a disease that is difficult to diagnose and is potentially fatal. The bacterium Rickettsia rickettsia causes the disease in humans bitten by ticks carrying the infection. Infections emerge throughout North and South America, and cases are especially prevalent in Oklahoma and neighboring states. Three species of ticks, the American Dog tick, the Rocky Mountain Wood tick and the Brown Dog tick, carry the bacterium.
The condition starts with a headache and fever, and these vague symptoms could prevent physicians from quickly recognizing the serious infection unless they are alerted to a tick bite. People, however, might not realize that a tick had bitten them. Physicians often must rely on their own judgment when diagnosing the disease in the early stages because a blood test cannot detect the infection until at least seven days after exposure.
As the symptoms advance, the headache will worsen for the victim, a spotted rash will emerge, and the victim will experience stomach pain, loss of appetite and vomiting. An eye infection could also develop. In a severe case, the lining of blood vessels can be damaged, leading to blood clots, internal bleeding, organ damage and death. The antibiotic Doxycycline offers sufferers an effective treatment, but it must be administered as early as possible to halt the disease.
A condition like this illustrates the importance of receiving a timely and accurate diagnosis. When a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis worsens a person's health, medical professional negligence might be present. An attorney could support a person pursuing compensation for medical expenses by gathering testimony from an independent medical expert.