NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The warmest March on record statewide is having its downside in the form of insect-borne diseases.
The Tennessean reported the Tennessee Department of Health has identified 74 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever statewide by mid-May. That's three times the rate at which the disease was found last year during the same time span.
In Hendersonville, 7-year-old Kaitlyn Stetzer spent almost a week in the hospital with what doctors believe was Rocky Mountain fever. Her parents never saw any indication of a tick bite.
Deputy state epidemiologist Dr. John Dunn said the disease can be fatal, but is highly treatable when detected early.
Health officials urge people to check themselves frequently for ticks, use insecticide and be aware of symptom that include fever, joint pain and a rash.