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Spotted Fever spreads in Tasmania


Two cases of Flinders Island Spotted Fever have been found in Tasmania's Midlands for the first time.

The infection is transmitted to humans by the bite of ticks found on reptiles such as Blue-tongued lizards and snakes. Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches and a rash.

The illness is usually mild, but can occasionally result in hospitalisation.

A recent study led by Dr Gabriela Willis published in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health reviewed 18 cases of infection acquired in Tasmania between 2012 and 2017.

"Thirteen cases were found on Flinders Island but three were reported around Great Oyster Bay at Coles Bay on the east coast and two in the Midlands at Ross. This is the first time confirmed cases have been found in the Midlands" Dr Mark Veitch, Director of Public Health said.

Experts say the best way to avoid the infection is to prevent tick bites by applying insect repellent and wearing protective clothing

"Most cases occur in the summer and are more common in people who spend time outdoors camping, bushwalking or working," he said.

The infection is treated with antibiotics.