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Relapsing Fever

Relapsing Fever

Relapsing fever is an infectious disease that can be passed to humans by ticks. Relapsing fever is most common in the western United States.

Symptoms usually start 3 to 11 days (average 6 days) after the tick bite. They may last for several days, go away, and then return (relapse) several days later. Symptoms of relapsing fever include:

  • High fever that begins suddenly.
  • Headache, often severe.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Muscle aches (myalgia).
  • Abdominal pain.
  • General feeling of illness (malaise).
  • Rash (up to 50% of cases).

Prescription medicine is used to treat relapsing fever.

Last Revised: July 5, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

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