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Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a severe, acute, rickettsial disease transmitted by ticks and limited to the Western Hemisphere. Its major symptoms are similar to those of epidemic typhus, but its rash covers the entire body, including the face, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet. Between 20 and 25 percent of untreated victims die, making Rocky Mountain spotted fever the most severe rickettsial infection in the Americas. First identified in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States, this place name has never been dislodged, even though it is inaccurate and even misleading.

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