Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (and other tickborne diseases) Toolkit for Healthcare Providers

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial disease spread through the bite of an infected tick. Early symptoms include fever, headache, and rash; and prompt treatment with doxycycline is critical to prevent severe and fatal outcome. This activity provides information pertinent to healthcare providers and public health practitioners on the epidemiology, risk factors, clinical characteristics, treatment, and diagnosis of RMSF. The toolkit includes an instructional video and companion learning tools that can be used as references. Through awareness and early recognition, front line providers can reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with RMSF. Many other tickborne diseases are also endemic to the United States, and are important causes of illness, requiring awareness, identification, and proper treatment.

The toolkit includes the following elements:

  • Training Video: narrated video discussing the clinical signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of RMSF
  • Physician Pocket Card: quick reference of key facts about the clinical diagnosis and treatment of RMSF
  • Clinical Timeline: printable graphic that provides key clinical facts and images to aid in the diagnosis of RMSF
  • Tickborne Diseases of the United States Manual: manual for healthcare providers highlighting transmission, epidemiology, clinical, diagnostic, and treatment features for tickborne diseases throughout the country.
Training Video

Narrated video discussing the clinical signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of RMSF

Physician Pocket Card
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever clinical pocket card. Treat early: RMSF can be rapidly fatal. Treatment is most effective if started within the first 5 days of symptoms. Doxycycline is the treatment of choice in persons of all ages.* Early signs and symptoms: fever, headache, myalgia, fatigue (non-specific and can mimic other illnesses). Later signs and symptoms: petechial rash, multi-organ failure, septic shock, meningoencephalitis, necrosis of digits or limbs, severe thrombocytopenia, hyponatremia. Do not wait for a rash to occur to suspect RMSF. Rash occurs in approximately 90%26#37; of cases, however rash does not typically appear until 2-4 days following fever onset. Fewer than 60%26#37; of people report history of a tick bite. Treatment is based on clinical suspicion, and should not rely on diagnostic test results or the appearance of rash. RMSF is most commonly confirmed by looking for serum antibodies using paired samples (one taken from the first week of illness and the second 2-4 weeks later).

Quick reference of key facts about the clinical diagnosis and treatment of RMSF

Clinical Timeline
MMWR Diagnosis and Management of Tickborne Rickettsial Diseases: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Other Spotted Fever Group Rickettsioses, Ehrlichioses, and Anaplasmosis - United States

Printable graphic that provides key clinical facts and images to aid in the diagnosis of RMSF

Tickborne Diseases of the US Manual
Cover image of Tickborne Diseases of the United States, Fifth Edition. Image shows a general map of the United States and images of the three most common human-biting ticks in the U.S.—Blacklegged tick, lone star tick, and American dog tick

Manual for healthcare providers highlighting transmission, epidemiology, clinical, diagnostic, and treatment features for tickborne diseases throughout the country.