BY SHEREEN LEHMAN
Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:12pm EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Brazilian ticks that carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever passed the disease to animal hosts in as little as 10 minutes if they had recently fed on another animal, a new study found.
“The current literature, including medical textbooks and guidelines for the general public, has repeatedly advised that an infected tick requires a minimum feeding period varying from 2 to 10 hours to transmit Rickettsia rickettsii – the bacterium that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever – to humans,” Marcelo Labruna told Reuters Health in an email.
“We believe our results will change some of our current recommendations for the prevention of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in endemic areas,” said Labruna, a researcher at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and senior author of the study.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the deadliest known rickettsial disease spread by several species of ticks that carry the bacteria and transmit them to the hosts they feed on, including dogs and humans.