Officials: Central Oregon a hot spot for Colorado tick fever

Tick insect warning sign in forest. (File photo)

BEND, Ore.  — Central Oregon has seen at least four confirmed cases and one suspected case of Colorado tick fever in just more than a month.

The Bend Bulletin reports the Oregon Health Authority says eight of the 11 confirmed cases of the viral disease statewide since 2011 have been Deschutes County residents.

Four of the recent cases involved Deschutes County residents, while the fifth was a resident of Jefferson County.

Only one or two Oregonians per year are usually diagnosed with the virus.

The most common symptoms of Colorado tick fever are fever, chills, headache, body aches, and feeling tired. Some patients have sore throat, vomiting, abdominal pain, or skin rash.

Most people who become ill have mild disease and recover completely. However, weakness and fatigue may last several weeks.

In rare cases, the infection has led to viral meningitis or encephalitis, and pregnant women can be at risk for spontaneous abortions or birth defects.