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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

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Complications

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) can be a very severe illness that requires treatment in a hospital. The bacteria infect cells that line blood vessels throughout the body. This infection can cause problems in the respiratory system, central nervous system, gastrointestinal system, or kidneys.

Some people infected with RMSF develop long-term health problems including

  • Partial paralysis of the legs
  • Gangrene requiring amputation of fingers, toes, arms, or legs
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Difficulty moving
  • Language disorders

These problems are most frequent in those recovering from severe, life-threatening disease, often following a long stay in the hospital.

Last Updated March 04, 2009

Last Reviewed January 28, 2011