INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana girl has died after her parents and doctors believe she was bitten by a tick that was carrying Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
The disease causes a bacterial infection carried by American dog ticks Rocky Mountain wood ticks and brown dog ticks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kenley Ratliff was taken to the hospital twice for strep throat recently, but after checkups in the emergency room, she was released. When a fever wouldn't come down, she was admitted last Tuesday, WISH reported.
“She had a 104 degree fever and that fever remained about 103.8 all week long up until her untimely death on Saturday morning at 2:45 a.m.,” a family friend told WISH.
She had a brain infection, swollen hands and a large rash.
Doctors believe Kenley had Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but are awaiting autopsy results to confirm their diagnosis, WISH reported.
The state health department said it had 40 cases of the disease in 2016.
Symptoms include fever, headache, upset stomach and a rash later in the illness, the CDC warns.
Kenley’s family is warning others to check for ticks so they don’t have to suffer the consequence of a bite from an infected insect.
“Everyone [needs] to be very diligent about checking their children for ticks, checking their animals for ticks,making sure that those pets are treated,” a family spokesperson told WISH.
So how can you prevent getting bitten by ticks when outside?
- Avoid high grass
- Walk in center of trails
- Use repellent with 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin or IR3535 on exposed skin
- Use permethrin on clothing, boots, and tents
- Shower as soon as you can after being outside (preferably within two hours)
- Do a full-body tick check
- Check gear and pets
- Tumble dry clothes on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks