Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a tick-borne illness spread by a bacterium called Rickettsia rickettsii. Experts say that the Brown Dog, American Dog and Rocky Mountain Wood ticks are mostly responsible for infecting people. New York residents should be aware that cases of the potentially fatal condition have been reported throughout North America. However, 60 percent of reported cases have been in states such as North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas.

One of the challenges in diagnosing Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is that initial symptoms don’t necessarily make it easy to diagnose. While it may be easier to diagnose if a person knew that he or she was bitten by a tick, most people are unaware that they have been bitten. Symptoms of the condition generally include fever, headache and lack of appetite. These and other symptoms generally start to show themselves within two to 14 days of being bitten.

The headache and fever are generally the first symptoms to appear followed by a combination of others. Testing for the condition is generally unreliable, which means that a doctor may have to use his or her judgment when making a diagnosis. Ideally, a person will start treatment within five days of a tick bite, and a person could die within eight days of exposure.

If an individual is misdiagnosed or is not diagnosed with a condition in a timely manner, it may be an example of medical malpractice. This may be true if a doctor failed to use available diagnostic tests or otherwise ignored information that could have led to the proper diagnosis. If a medical professional was negligent in causing medical errors, the patient may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other losses.