CDC unveils interactive training for tickborne disease

The CDC created its first education module for identifying and diagnosing Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a potentially fatal tickborne disease.

In 2017, the CDC received 6,248 reports of tickborne spotted fever rickettsiosis cases, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a record number, up from 4,269 the year prior. But less than 1 percent of those reports could be confirmed with sufficient laboratory evidence. This indicated that healthcare providers needed better training to diagnose tickborne diseases.

"Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be deadly if not treated early — yet cases often go unrecognized because the signs and symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases," said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD.

The new interactive education module aims to help providers recognize the early signs of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and differentiate it from similar diseases by using scenarios based on real cases.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is treatable with antibiotic intervention within the first five days of illness. Left untreated, the disease can result in amputation, heart and lung specialty care or treatment in intensive care units. One in five untreated cases are fatal.

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