This page is dedicated to organizing various examples of standardized exam questions whose topic is Rocky Mountain spotted fever (Rickettsia rickettsii). While this may seem a odd practice, it is useful to see multiple examples of how Rocky Mountain spotted fever will be characterized on standardized exams (namely the boards and the shelf exams). This page is not meant to be used as a traditional question bank (as all of the answers will be the same), however seeing the classic “test” characterization for a topic is quite valuable.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS CONDITION (ON EXAMS)
When it comes to standardized exams, each topic has its own “code” marked by key buzzwords, lab findings, clues, etc. If you are well versed in this code you will be able to more quickly identify the condition that is being discussed, and get the right answer on the exam you are taking. Below is the “code” for Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- Presence in endemic areas: most common in the Southeast United States
- Recent tick bite is an important part of the history. This is how the disease is transmitted.
- Nonspecific symptoms: fever, red conjunctiva, severe headache
- Ascending rash: this begins on the palms/wrists and soles/ankles and then moves to the trunk
Question # 1
Explanation # 1
Question # 2
Explanation # 2
TESTABLE FACTS ABOUT THIS TOPIC (BEYOND ITS IDENTIFICATION)
Many questions on standardized exams go beyond simply recognizing the underlying topic. Often there are specific testable facts regarding some aspect of the topic’s pathophysiology/management/clinical implications that are commonly asked. Some of these are listed below:
- Vector: dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) or wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni)
- Pathogen: Rickettsia rickettsii
- Pathophysiology: this organism proliferates in the endothelium of blood vessels. This causes hemorrhage and thrombi (explains the rash and red conjunctiva)
- Treatment: Doxycycline, chloramphenicol
Page Updated: 04.29.2017