Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a tick-borne bacterial disease that affects the cells in the lining of your blood vessels, making the vessels leak. This can eventually cause serious damage to internal organs, particularly your kidneys.

Although it was first identified in the Rocky Mountains, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is most commonly found in the southeastern part of the United States. It also occurs in parts of Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.

Early signs and symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include severe headache and high fever. A few days later, a rash usually appears on the wrists and ankles. Rocky Mountain spotted fever responds well to prompt treatment with antibiotics. If left untreated, however, the disease can cause serious complications and even death.

Sep. 10, 2011