North Carolina: Tick Central

State accounts for high number of Spotted Fever cases

Outdoor Life Online Editor

A home in the rolling hills of North Carolina's piedmont region has become a desirable address nationwide. The low costs combined with rural living created a magnet for folks seeking a slower pace of life. Problem is, the city slickers heading to the Old North State don't know that much about ticks.

In turn, North Carolina reported the highest number of cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever nationwide, 535 of 1,514. That's more than Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida combined.

The dog tick, which carries the bacteria, thrives in the piedmont's warm climate. Diagnosis in early stages can be difficult because symptoms mimic many other ailments and often people don't recall being bitten by a tick.

The fever sets in within a couple of days to a couple of weeks after a person is bitten. Severe head and muscle aches, nausea and sometimes a blotchy red rash accompany a high fever. Spotted Fever can be treated with a course of antibiotics.