Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever confirmed in Champaign pet

By Kathleen Foody

A case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever had been identified in a Champaign County dog, according to a release issued by the Champaign County Public Health District.

No human cases of the fever have been reported. The disease is caused by a bacteria carried by ticks. Human symptoms of the disease include fever, nausea and muscle pain, followed by a prominent rash usually found on the arms or ankles. The disease cannot be transmitted by animals or people, only through contact with tick body parts or fluids or a tick bite.

The owner reported the dog has been in Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve in Mahomet, according to the county forest preserve district.

Forest preserve and health department officials are urging area residents to check both themselves and their pets for ticks if they are in areas that could be infested with the insects. These include areas with tall grass and weeds or wooded areas.

Forest preserve officials also suggest keeping pets on leashes and sticking to designated trails to avoid coming in contact with ticks.

If a tick is found on an animal or human, use tweezers or tissue to grasp the tick, gently pull up in a steady motion and wash the area and use a disinfectant.

Officials also suggest recording to the date of the bite and placing the tick in a container to be identified by officials at the public health building at 201 W. Kenyon Road.