Rrocky-mountain1ocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), a disease spread by the bite of an infected tick, was first identified in Arizona in 2003 and continues to be public health threat. Since 2003, there have been over 330 human RMSF cases identified in Arizona with 20 fatalities.

For several years, we’ve been coordinating with Arizona’s tribal communities, Indian Health Services, local health departments, and the CDC to increase awareness of the disease, monitor cases, promote RMSF prevention, and support control measures in affected communities. We recently worked with our partners to produce the Arizona RMSF Handbook. This resource guide provides background on the history and epidemiology of RMSF in Arizona and outlines recommendations and strategies for RMSF response and prevention activities.

The handbook also includes best practices for tribal and local public health agencies working to prevent and control RMSF. ADHS hopes to strengthen communication and collaboration with partners to reduce the threat of RMSF in Arizona.

Remember, you can take some simple steps to prevent RMSF, like treating dogs with tick control products, avoiding tick-infested areas, checking for ticks if you’ve been enjoying the wilderness, and treating your yard with pesticides if you see ticks around your home.