Wisconsin confirms death from tick-spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever

LA CROSSE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - An illness spread by wood ticks has claimed the life of a Wisconsin resident.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirms a La Crosse County resident has died from Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

The Associated Press reports the victim was a woman in her late 50s. She was bit while camping in early May.

It's the first documented death from Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the state.

The illness is rare in Wisconsin.

It is spread from the bite of a wood tick.

Symptoms include fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, headache and stomach pain. If it goes untreated it can get worse, state health officials say.

“We are saddened to learn of this death and encourage Wisconsin residents to take steps to protect themselves and their families from tick bites while enjoying the outdoors,” said Karen McKeown, State Health Officer.

Click here to learn more about Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

DHS recommends citizens take precautions against tick bites.

The agency urges the use of insect repellent with at least 20 percent DEET.

Additional tips: avoid tall grass and brush; wear long sleeves and pants; check for ticks after time outdoors; take a shower after time outdoors; place clothes in a dryer on high heat to kill the ticks.

The most common illness spread by tickets in Wisconsin is Lyme disease.