Woman, 68, suffers whole-body rash and 103 F fever one week after tick bites her right ankle

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Woman, 68, found to be suffering from 'Japanese Spotted Fever' after whole-body rash and 103 F fever erupt one week after tick bites her right ankle

  • Woman from Japan came to hospital five days after a pinpoint dot-like rash erupted on her arms and legs
  • Doctors there diagnosed her with tick-borne illness Japanese spotted fever
  • She was treated with a two-week course of antibiotic minocycline
  • CDC warns that the disease could be detected in the US in patients that have traveled here from Japan

By Luke Andrews Health Reporter For Dailymail.Com

Published: 13:18 EDT, 4 August 2022 | Updated: 13:19 EDT, 4 August 2022

A 68-year-old woman suffered a whole-body rash and 103 F (39.5 C) fever after catching Japanese spotted fever from a tick that bit her right ankle.

The unnamed woman came to Narita Hospital just outside Tokyo, Japan, five days after a pinpoint dot-like rash erupted on her arms and legs.

Doctors then saw it advance onto her palms and soles of her feet. Lesions opened up before a two-week course of antibiotic minocycline got it under control. Testing revealed she was infected with bacteria — scientifically named Rickettsia japonica — which were carried by the tick.

More than 300 cases of the disease are recorded annually in Japan — where it is native, but few in other countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns, however, that it could still be detected in the U.S. in travelers who recently returned from the Asian country.

Pictured abve is the palsm of the woman who was infected with Japanese spotted fever. She said she suffered a bite from a tick on her right ankle about a week before symptoms started

The pinpoint dot-like rash also spread to her legs, trunks, arms, palms and soles of her feet. It cleared up after she began a two-week course of antibiotics

Dr Kosuke Ishizuka, a medic at International University of Health and Welfare Narita Hospital who led the research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, hoped it would raise awareness about the disease.

It is not clear when she came to doctors for care. Her condition resolved after two-weeks of care.

What is Japanese spotted fever? 

This is a disease sparked by a bacteria people may pick up from a tick bite.

It is known in Japan and South Korea, but medics are advised to be on the look out in other countries where it could have been imported.

Symptoms tend to emerge up to two weeks after someone is bitten.

In most cases, patients face rashes covering large areas of the body, fever and headaches.

But in more serious cases they can also face liver dysfunction.

About one in 100 people who become infected die from the disease.

Antibiotics are used to clear it, and are often deployed before tests have even confirmed the infection.

About 300 cases are diagnosed every year in Japan.

Source: National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan.

Japanese spotted fever can only be caught from tick bites, and at least eight species in Japan and several in South Korea are known to carry the illness.

Patients tend to suffer rashes covering large areas of their body, fever and headaches.

In more severe cases they can also face liver dysfunction. About one in 100 people who become infected die from the disease.

Japanese health authorities recommend patients are treated with an antibiotic as soon as the infection is suspected, even before tests have confirmed it.

Warning it could reach the U.S., the CDC says: 'People may be exposed to these tick-borne bacteria when traveling outside of the United States.

'Healthcare providers should be aware of these illnesses in patients who have signs and symptoms common to other spotted fevers and a history of travel within two weeks of illness onset.' 

Japanese spotted fever is sparked by bacteria in the family Rickettsia, with some types also carried by ticks in the United States.

The most dangerous among these — named Rickettssia rickettsii — sparks Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Recorded in every U.S. state except Alaska and Hawaii, sufferers tend to face fever and headache in the early stages.

But the infection can then rapidly progress into a serious and life-threatening illness.

These patients may face amputation of legs, arms, fingers or toes due to damage to blood vessels, alongside hearing loss, paralysis and mental disability.

Rashes usually erupt two to four days after a fever, and can look like 'red splotches' or 'pinpoint dots'.

As with the Japanese type, patients are administered with an antibiotic to fight the infection.

More than 6,000 cases are reported of this disease every year nationwide.

About four percent of patients die from the disease, but among those who do not receive treatment this can rise as high as 30 percent.

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