Symptoms and signs of tick bite fever
If you get bitten by an infected tick, the incubation period (the period between being infected and displaying symptoms) is about five to seven days. Symptoms can vary, depending partly on the organism involved. Your age and underlying health may also influence the severity of the infection.
Typical features may include the presence of a black mark where the bite occurred, and fever, severe headache and a rash. The black mark at the site of the tick bite is called an eschar (or a tache noir), and looks like a small ulcer (2-5mm in diameter) with a black centre. It may look something like a spider bite. The eschars can be single or multiple and can sometimes be very difficult to find. The eschar usually appears once the fever appears, as does the headache and malaise (general feeling of ill-health). Lymph nodes near the eschar may be enlarged.
A rash is usually, but not always, a feature of tick bite fever (it is supposedly less likely to occur in someone infected by R. africae
), but when it is present, it consists of small red marks on the skin, sometimes raised slightly above the surface. It typically starts on the limbs and spreads to the trunk, and can involve the entire body, including the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.