Treatment involves careful removal of the tick from the skin and antibiotics to eliminate the infection. Doxycycline or tetracycline are frequently used for both confirmed and suspected cases. Chloramphenicol may be used in pregnant women.
Note: There is concern that tetracycline and doxycycline may stain the teeth of children whose permanent teeth have not yet formed. Tooth discoloration, however, is very unusual when a child takes these medicines for 14 days or less. Therefore these medicines are first line treatment, even for children.
Treatment usually cures the infection. Complications are rare but can include paralysis, hearing loss, nerve damage, and, rarely, death.
- Brain damage
- Clotting problems
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Lung failure
- Pneumonitis (lung inflammation)
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if symptoms develop after exposure to ticks or known tick bite. The complications of untreated Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be life threatening.