Tick-borne diseases identified in Arizona, health department says

PHOENIX - The state Department of Health Services says a tick-borne disease similar to Rocky Mountain spotted fever has been identified in Arizona.

The department says the cases involve two people bitten by ticks in mountainous areas of southern Arizona.

According to the department, there have only been 40 cases of the disease in the United States since it was first recognized in 2004 and the tick that carries the disease was hardly known in Arizona.

The disease is named Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis (rick-et-SEE'-uh park-er-EYE' rick-et-see-OH'-sis). The tick is Amblyomma triste (am-blee-oh-MAH' tryst-AY').

Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, rash, and a dark scab at the site of the tick bite.

The department advises wearing long sleeves and pants and using insect repellant when doing outdoor activities.

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