Volume 93, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is an emerging public health issue on some American Indian reservations in Arizona. RMSF causes an acute febrile illness that, if untreated, can cause severe illness, permanent sequelae requiring lifelong medical support, and death. We describe costs associated with medical care, loss of productivity, and death among cases of RMSF on two American Indian reservations (estimated population 20,000) between 2002 and 2011. Acute medical costs totaled more than $1.3 million. This study further estimated $181,100 in acute productivity lost due to illness, and $11.6 million in lifetime productivity lost from premature death. Aggregate costs of RMSF cases in Arizona 2002–2011 amounted to $13.2 million. We believe this to be a significant underestimate of the cost of the epidemic, but it underlines the severity of the disease and need for a more comprehensive study.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 05 Feb 2015
  • Accepted : 29 Apr 2015
  • Published online : 02 Sep 2015
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