Rocky Mountain wood tick/AP
Federal health officials confirmed that Rocky Mountain spotted fever caused the death of a Buncombe County child last month.
Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that the death of Emilee Russell, 6, is the first fatality confirmed in North Carolina linked to the tick-borne illness since 2009. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the cause.
In 2012, North Carolina had almost 600 probable and laboratory-confirmed cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever from 78 counties. The illness is transmitted by infection from a bacterial organism and is transmitted by the bite of an infected dog tick. Symptoms are fever, muscle pain, headache and rash.
(Copyright 2008 Gannett Co. Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)