Wisconsin’s first death from tick-borne Rocky Mountain spotted fever confirmed

Health officials are confirming Wisconsin’s first documented death from Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

The state Department of Health Services announced Tuesday the tick-borne disease has killed a La Crosse woman.

Jo Foellimi, a La Crosse County public health nurse, says the woman was bitten while camping in western Wisconsin in early May.

The woman was diagnosed with RMSF in mid-June and died days later. Foellimi says the woman was in her late 50s but declined to identify her.

RMSF is spread by the American dog tick. The disease is typically found in the central and southeastern United States and rarely reported in Wisconsin.

Fellimi says the dog tick is less active in summer but people should still use repellant, avoid tall grass and check themselves for ticks.


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