Vocabulary:  Empower yourself by knowing the language of the problem.

Zoonotic: disease transmissible between humans and animals
Spirochete (spirochaete): a bacteria which has a spiral form, such as most of the tick borne disease bacteria
IFA: Immunoflourescent Antibody (assay)
PCR: Polymerase Chain Reaction, http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/PCR
Assay: Count
RMSF: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a spirochete disease, caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii.


I have had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, twice. I found it hard to even get a test to confirm this, even though I had unique symptoms of this disease. When I was tested via IFA, RMSF was confirmed. Without treatment, there is a 20% mortality rate. A lady my age who lived nearby, died from this, at the same time I was ill. Fortunately, I was able to nurse myself through the acute phase. I was discussing this ‘flu’ with a friend who is a vet, and she recognized the RMSF and urged me to follow up with a physician. I was dismayed to find it was difficult to even get tested, however, the MD did give me an 11 day course of Doxycycline, and I did improve. In the meantime, I attempted to follow up with an infectious disease specialist. It was very difficult for me to get an appointment. In July, many of my symptoms returned. (along with a different kind of bug bite – more on that later). I got an infectious disease appointment for the end of November. That doctor required the test, and then my general physician did test me and I was positive. I know of 4 other people in my area (SE Virginia) with RMSF, and three got it in April.

If you suspect you may have a similar problem, my check sheets may help you get started on treatment. This is the first in a series.

Check Sheet 1

Coming soon: Ways to decrease the ticks on your property and repel them on your person