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Tick-borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF)

Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) is an infection caused from the bite of an infected* tick called “soft ticks”. These ticks bite at night and live with rodents (rats or squirrels).


How can I get sick?

  • Getting bit from an infected* tick.
    • This can happen when sleeping in cabins in the mountains that have lots of rodents (rats or squirrels).

Symptoms in humans: 

  • High fever (when your body is much hotter than normal)

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain

What can I do to stay healthy?

  • Do not sleep in cabins or houses that have rodent nests (rats or squirrels) or rodent poop in the house.
  • If you are renting a cabin or house and notice rodent nests (rats or squirrels) or rodent poop in the house, call the owner.

Before you go outside

  • Know where ticks live!
    • Ticks live in grassy, bushy, or wooded areas. They also live on animals.
      • When hiking or walking outside, try to stay on trails.
      • While hunting or trapping, use gloves when touching an animal or harvesting* an animal.
  • Hunting, camping, hiking, gardening, or playing outside can bring you close to ticks.
  • Treat your clothes, gear (boots, tents, backpacks or camping gear), or any outdoor equipment with insect repellent*.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks when outside.
  • Use insect repellents* while hiking, camping, hunting, or being outside. Ask an adult to help you with insect repellent*.

Before you come inside after being outside

  • Check your clothes, pets, and gear (backpacks, shoes, tents) for ticks before going inside.
  • If you have a tick on you, ask for help to have it removed.
  • Shower soon after being outside to wash off ticks and do a tick check.
  • Check your body for ticks after being outside. Check under your arms, in and around your ears, inside belly button, back of your knees, in and around your hair, between the legs, and around your waist.


  • Harvesting an animal: The process of removing an animal to be used for meat or fur.
  • Infected: When germs get inside of a body, animal, or an organism.
  • Insect Repellents: Product applied to skin, clothing or surfaces to keep insects away.

Species Affected

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.