An Evidence-Based Approach To The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever In The Emergency Department
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An Evidence-Based Approach To The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever In The Emergency Department

April 2007

Abstract

Fever. Muscles aches. Vomiting. Headache. Each is a nonspecificcomplaint that may imply a diagnosis in isolation, but taken together often lead to the general diagnosis of viral syndrome. Only rarely does a constellation of nonspecific complaints lead to a specific diagnosis. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is a disease with protean manifestations. The classic presentation is a patient complaining of fever, headache, myalgias, nausea, and a petechial rash involving the palms and soles. Although RMSF, among the tick-borne illnesses, has taken a back seat to Lyme disease in terms of national attention due to its relatively low prevalence, it has a high incidence of mortality and substantive associated morbidity. Failure to diagnose RMSF in a timely manner is the primary explanation for this. RMSF must be in the front of the minds of clinicians, even those who do not practice in endemic regions. This issue of Emergency Medicine Practice will provide a systematic approach to the diagnosis and treatment of RMSF.
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