Colorado Tick Fever: Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis

What Is Colorado Tick Fever?

Colorado tick fever is a viral infection spread by a bite of an infected Rocky Mountain wood tick. Colorado tick fever virus is part of the family Reoviridae, subfamily Spinareovirinae, genus Coltivirus. (1)

Ticks are little brown parasites which are most often found in wooded areas and fields. They require the blood of animals and people to survive. Unfortunately, they often carry certain diseases, and they are able to transmit these diseases to the people they bite. Colorado tick fever is among many diseases that can be transmitted. (2)

Symptoms of Colorado tick fever may include headaches, fever, and chills. These symptoms often begin within three to six days after a tick bite occurs. This period of time is referred to as the incubation period. Once symptoms develop, they usually go away within 10 days. Treatment is rarely required, and most people make a full recovery without complications. (3)

Colorado tick fever is limited in Canada and western U.S.A. It is most commonly found in the state of Colorado. Colorado tick fever has the highest incidence from February to October. with 90 percent of cases from April until July. You are at an increased risk of becoming infected if you spend time outdoors in tick-infested areas.

Colorado Tick Fever is sometimes called Mountain Tick Fever or Mountain Fever in the Americas.

What Are the Symptoms of Colorado Tick Fever?

Colorado tick fever symptoms include the following:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • 105°F fever
  • chills
  • severe headache
  • light sensitivity
  • muscle aches
  • skin tenderness
  • loss of appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • weakness and fatigue
  • faint rash

It should be noted that symptoms of Colorado tick fever take a minimum of three days to develop. If you have symptoms right after a tick bite, then your symptoms are probably caused by another condition. You may want to talk to your doctor if you develop serious symptoms of Colorado tick fever or Your symptoms do not improve within a week.

What Causes Colorado Tick Fever?

Colorado tick fever is a virus that causes Colorado tick virus. Transmission of the virus occurs when an infected tick bite. The primary carrier for the Colorado tick virus is the Rocky Mountain tick, generally located in the western United States. It generally lives in wooded areas over 5000 feet above sea level.

How Is Colorado Tick Fever Diagnosed?

Your physician may diagnose Colorado tick fever by conducting a physical examination and a variety of laboratory tests. Such tests can include:

Complement Fixation Antibody Test

This test identifies if there are antibodies to the Colorado tick fever virus in the you’re blood. Antibodies are special proteins which help fight harmful substances like bacteria and viruses. If antibodies from Colorado tick fever virus are found, then a diagnosis of Colorado tick fever is done.

Complete Blood Count

This is a general screening test that measures how many white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets are in the body. This is a simple blood test that can assist physicians in determining the exact cause of symptoms.

Liver Function Tests

These tests assess the liver’s effectiveness by measuring protein, liver enzymes and bilirubin levels within the bloodstream. Colorado tick fever may affect your liver, Hepatic insufficiency can be a sign of illness.

How Is Colorado Tick Fever Treated?

A specific treatment for Colorado tick fever is not available. Once symptoms appear, they usually disappear by themselves within ten days. Fever and muscle pain can be treated with acetaminophen, like tylenol, and other medicines to relieve pain. It is also important to take a break and remain hydrated.

A tick should also be removed as soon as possible. Call your physician if you cannot remove the whole tick from your skin.

How Can Ticks Be Removed From My Skin?

You should never try to remove the ticks by utilizing lit matches, alcohol, or petroleum jelly. This can result in the tick releasing the pathogen that causes Colorado tick fever.

The safest way to get a tick off your skin is with fine-tipped tweezers. To remove the tick, proceed as follows:

  • Use rubber or latex gloves if available. If you are not wearing gloves, place a paper towel or handkerchief on your fingers.
  • Take the tick with tongs as close as possible to your skin and pull up in a regular motion. The use of twisting or shaking may result in a break in the tick. If that happens, it’s going to be very difficult to get the rest of the organization out. Try to avoid pressing the body of the tick.
  • Clean your hands and the bite area with soapy water.

Place the tick in a plastic bag in your freezer, noting the day. If you get sick, the tick can make it easier for your doctor to diagnose.

What Are the Potential Complications of Colorado Tick Fever?

Colorado tick fever doesn’t usually lead to complications. In some cases, however, it may cause:

  • encephalitis, It’s an inflammation of your brain tissue.
  • meningitis, This is an inflammation of the cerebral membranes and spinal cord.
  • hemorrhagic fever, causing damage to blood vessels and organs.

Hospitalization may be needed in case of complications.

How Can Colorado Tick Fever Be Prevented?

You can reduce your risk of tick attacks by avoiding areas known to be infested with ticks. When you are in an area that may have ticks, make sure you wear suitable clothing. This includes closed footwear, long trousers inserted into socks and long-sleeved shirts. It may also be advantageous to wear light colored clothing, as ticks are more difficult to see on dark clothing. The use of insect repellent is effective in keeping ticks awsy.

Having spent a lot of time in a neighborhood where ticks live, Be sure to check your condition, that of your children and pets before going back inside. Ticks embedded in the skin need to be removed immediately using tweezers.

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