Acute Communicable
Disease Control

Contact Information
County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Acute Communicable Disease Control
313 N. Figueroa Street, #212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7941
Fax: (213) 482-4856

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Acute Communicable Disease Control
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia

image of tick bites
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) and Spotted Fever group (SPG) are diseases caused by Rickettsia bacteria that are transmitted to people through the bite of an infected tick. RMSF, caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, is the most severe and most frequently reported rickettsial illness in the US. Contrary to its name, RMSF is rare in the western US; most cases occur in the Midwestern and southeast US. Only one or two cases of RMSF are reported each year in California. Initial signs and symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. The disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and without prompt and appropriate treatment, can be fatal.

SFG Rickettsia can cause fever, headache, and a small open wound about 1/4 inch in size that turns into a dark scab (called an eschar). A SFG Rickettsia called 364D has been identified from a small number of people in northern California and has been found in the Pacific Coast tick in eight counties in both northern and southern California.

New and Noteworthy
  • CDC Health Advisory: Severe and Fatal Confirmed Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever among People with Recent Travel to Tecate, Mexico (12-8-23)

Los Angeles County

Additional Resources
Laboratory Testing  
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