ST. JOSEPH, MO (KCTV) - It's not even summer but already there is a case of a potentially deadly disease carried by ticks in Missouri.
A vet recently diagnosed Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in a dog in St. Joseph.
Britton Cooper loves the outdoors and he spent Wednesday fishing at Shawnee Mission Park. Because he's outside so much, he's gotten bitten by ticks hundreds of time.
"I've had some places get pretty infected," he said.
Learning about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever creates another reason to fear them.
"That's pretty surprising. I knew about Lyme Disease, but I never heard about that," Cooper said.
Fortunately Kansas' recent data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows no reported cases. But Missouri is one of five states that makes up more than 60 percent of cases in the U.S.
Some of the symptoms of RMSF are a fever, headache and even a rash that develops later on. If it's not treated immediately, it could be deadly.
Experts recommend that people and their pets stay away from tall grass where ticks often reside.
"I've been around wildlife, woods all my life so ticks can be very dangerous," David Montgomery said.
He said he walks several times a week and he won't stop doing that to avoid ticks. Instead he will take precautions.
"Wear a hat to keep them out of your hair. Try to inspect yourself when you get done with your walk or your run," Montgomery said.
The risk of getting RMSF won't keep Cooper from doing what he loves the most either.
"I'm not going to stop going outside," he said.
Experts say people get infected the most with the tickborne disease in June and July.