Tic Toc - Waiting on the Tick

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This blog was originally posted on January 4, 2012 at Please note, Dr Robson is not accepting donations at this time. However, he would greatly appreciate your comments and suggestions in support of his efforts.


When I showered I felt something in my groin and flicked it off. Looked to me like a green seed pod but when I stepped on the pod a lot of blood spurted out. My blood. Ouch.

It was a tick. Specifically, the tick was Amblyomma cajennense. This tick is found mostly in the jungle and likes to prey on animals.

There was a small black central puncture wound with an area of redness around the bite that was about half a centimeter wide.

I had showered for dinner the night before and surely would have noticed the tick then, so my thoughts are that the tick arrived overnight, perhaps picked up in my clothes earlier that day. As this thought settled, I recollected an itch in the same area overnight. The itch was likely the bite. I didn’t check the time, I just rolled over and went back to sleep. I only slept for six hours that night, so the tick was attached for a maximum of six hours and this detail is important because the duration is correlated with the risk of infection with Rickettsiae rickettsia, which causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, or just Spotted Fever in Latin America.

I immediately took some clarithromycin, which I had on hand, and the next day I obtained Doxycycline, which is the recommended treatment.

The incubation period for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever ranges from 3 to 12 days. The tick needs to be attached for 2 to 10 hours for the Rickettsiae to be released from the tick salivary gland and an earlier onset of symptoms occurs when there is a large volume of the inoculum. I likely have a low risk for infection, but there is a risk. I will just have to wait and see.