What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

Tribal Health Department

Gila River Indian Community


Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, also known as RMSF, is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can cause severe damage to the body and even be deadly, without proper treatment.  Early signs and symptoms of RMSF include severe headaches, high fever, nausea, stomach pain, muscle pain and a rash outbreak. Antibiotic treatment is suggested for both children and adults who are suspected of having RMSF. 


The best way to protect yourself, your family, and your pets from RMSF is to be aware of your environment.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ticks prefer moist and humid environments, particularly in wooded or grassy areas. To reduce your chances of coming in contact with a tick, be sure to use insect repellent. As for your pets, use preventive products like a tick collar. Be sure to talk to Veterinary Services at the Tribal Health Department before using tick prevention products on your pets.  If you happen to come in contact with a tick, be sure to quickly and properly remove it. The proper way to remove a tick is to grasp it and pull it straight out slowly. From there seek medical treatment from a health provider immediately. The unique correlation between RMSF and tribal communities serves as a reminder to take preventive measures seriously with the overall goal of protecting the community. 


For more information, please contact the GRIC Tribal Health Department at (520) 562-5100 and ask to speak with an Animal Control Officer or Veterinary