Three Important Points of Colorado Tick Fever

Colorado tick fever is caused by virus, that belongs to Rheovoridae family, coltivirus genus. Every year several hundred cases of Colorado tick fever are reported in the United States.

Commonly the disease is acquired between the months of March and November, by bite of infected Dermacentor andersoni tick. The tick is found in the mountainous western regions of United States at altitudes of 1200–3000 m (approximately 4000–10,000 ft). Various small mammals found in the region acts as amplifying host for the virus.

What are the symptoms of Colorado tick fever:

The most common symptoms of Colorado tick fever include fever and myalgia (muscle ache or pain). Many cases of Colorado tick fever may also present with severe symptoms such as meningoencephalitis. Less common symptoms of Colorado tick fever include pericarditis, myocarditis, orchitis (inflammation/infection of testicles), hemorrhagic problems and various pulmonary (lungs or respiratory) symptoms. Skin rash occurs among a good percentage of individuals with Colorado tick fever. Course of disease is usually one week to 10 days and may have biphasic nature.

Some other viral diseases found in the region where Colorado tick fever is seen include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, with which it has various similarities in clinical symptoms/presentation and need to be differentiated. However, in Colorado area, Colorado tick fever is more common than Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Laboratory findings in Colorado tick fever:

Leukopenia and thrombocytopenia are common. Virus usually infect erythroblasts and other bone marrow cells and there is presence of erythrocytes (red blood cells) for several weeks, which harbor virus, that can be detected by using immunofluorescence and helpful in diagnosis of Colorado tick fever.

Treatment of Colorado tick fever:

There is no specific therapy for Colorado tick fever. Treatment is mainly symptomatic. Fluid and electrolyte balance should be maintained. If there is hemorrhage or thrombocytopenia, whole blood transfusion or transfusion of packed red cells and platelets can be done.


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