Tick fever is caused by a bacteria in the saliva of the tick that infects a person during a bite. There are two kinds of tick fever: Rocky Mountain and Colorado. Rocky Mountain tick fever can be fatal if untreated.
Ticks are tiny, flat, tear-drop-shaped insects that survive by sucking the blood of other animals. They typically inhabit wooded and grassy areas. Ticks do not crawl onto the body but are picked up when brushed against by shoes or clothing.
Rocky Mountain Fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by the Rickettsia rickettsii bacteria and has been found in every state except Maine, Alaska and Hawaii. The disease gets its name from the area in which it was first identified.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is spread by the American dog tick, the lone-star tick and the deer tick. Symptoms begin three to 12 days after tick bite and include: persistent high fever (lasting two to three weeks), rash covering the body (starting on the arms and legs), deep muscle pain, nausea, chills and severe headache.
Colorado Tick Fever
Colorado tick fever is carried by the Rocky Mountain wood tick and is confined to areas within western states with an elevation above 5,000 feet.
Colorado Tick Fever Symptoms
Symptoms usually appear four to five days after tick bite and include: high fever, pain behind the eyes, severe headache, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and lethargy.
Rocky Mountain Fever must be treated immediately--the high fever temperatures carry a significant risk of kidney failure and death from shock. Treatment typically centers around controlling the symptoms until the bacteria is eliminated by the immune system. Colorado tick fever has no specific treatment, and persons often only need to take a mild pain reliever until symptoms subside.