GRIC Environmental Health Program Reminds of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

October 20, 2017


Tribal Health Department

Gila River Indian News


As the Summer comes to a close and the school season begins, the GRIC Environmental Health Program encourages members to stay vigilant when dealing with ticks. As we all know, ticks can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).


Humans may be infected when bitten by ticks carrying this disease. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious tick borne illness, which can be deadly if not treated early. It is spread by several species of ticks in the United States.


Although ticks that carry RMSF like to live on dogs, a person must know where to expect ticks.


Ticks live in or around grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. In addition to these places, spending time outside camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Our members have ticks residing on the outside of their homes, in their yards and even doghouses.


Another way to combat ticks and their bites is to treat clothing and gear to be worn outside with EPA registered insect repellants. Treat boots, shoes, clothing, and camping gear, blankets, towels just to name a few. Do not forget to protect your animals by checking their bodies frequently and if you are able, buy a tick collar that is compatible for your pet.


GRIC Environmental Health Program recommends ready to use (RTU) pesticides that are labeled to kill ticks and contain one of the following active ingredients: Permethrin, Bifenthrin, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Cyfluthrin, or Lambda Cyhalothrin. These products may be used for indoor or outdoor areas where ticks have been seen and can be reapplied as directed by the label.


Although GRIC members make several seasonal requests for tick spays, GRIC Environmental Health Program warns against too many sprays during a short amount of time may lead to ticks becoming resistant to the Pesticides in the spray. Strict adherence to Integrative Pest Management Protocols by the GRIC Environmental Health Program prevents this resistance by ticks by alternating different pesticides and the frequency of pesticide application.


lf you are unfortunate enough to have been bitten by a tick carrying RMSF, here are some signs and symptoms to look for that may occur in the two weeks after a tick bites you: Fever, nausea, lack of appetite, headache, aches, and pains, red spots, red bumps, or a rash on the hands and feet (some people may never get a rash). If you are able, please save the tick that has bitten you for the doctor to examine. The doctor may examine the tick, a rash sample, or a blood sample.


Because the early signs and symptoms are similar to those caused by many other diseases, doctors will begin early treatment with antibiotics and will not wait for test results before starting treatment. Furthermore, after the initial Doctor visit, a second doctor’s visit and blood test is required to confirm a positive RMSF case.


A confirmed RMSF case will require GRIC Environmental Health Program to adjust their Integrative Pest Management Control of the mosquito and also send out warnings and awareness to the community and other GRIC programs involved in the management and control of the disease and mosquito.


The GRIC Environmental Health Services Program would like to thank you and be aware of RMSF and if you have any concerns about the RMSF, please call 520-562-5100 and ask to speak with a representative of the Environmental Health Services Program.