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November 26, 1973

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan Medical Center Ann Arbor

JAMA. 1973;226(9):1122. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230090046022

To the Editor.—  I heartily agree with the editorial comment (225:1372,1973) on Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). Prevention at the personal level is relatively easy and successful. The inspection of the body after a foray afield, with removal of ticks, is effective since ticks require several hours of attachment before reactivation and transmission of the rickettsiae occurs. However, the use of a lighted match to remove ticks usually results in burned fingers and skin and may leave behind the all important tick mouthpiece. It seems far better to remove ticks by simple traction at the headpiece with a pair of forceps.Deticking of pets is equally important. Hattwick et al point out that "most exposures occurred at home" and most of these were associated with close contact with dogs (225: 1338, 1973).Vaccination may well have a place in rural Virginia and North Carolina where the incidence of RMSF runs