June 16, 2017

Plainfield Girl Who Died After Tick Bite Had Spotted Fever

State health officials encourage Hoosiers to take precautions to prevent tick bites.

State health officials encourage Hoosiers to take precautions to prevent tick bites.

Lab tests have confirmed that a 2-year-old Plainfield, Indiana girl who died after being bitten by a tick during a camping trip was infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. 

“We do know that we have these organisms that cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever present in the state of Indiana and we do see these sporadic cases occurring every year," says State Public Health Veterinarian Jen Brown. "And, unfortunately this disease can be extremely serious and life-threatening.”

She says that’s why health officials are recommending that Hoosiers take precautions against tick bites, every year.

Kenley Ratliff died June 4 at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.   A doctor says she was in the advanced stages of the illness within days of arriving at the hospital.

“The symptoms generally begin with fever and headache and can be accompanied by non-specific symptoms like nausea , vomiting or muscle aches. We sometimes see a rash,” Brown says.

Health officials say the best way to prevent tick bites is to be aware of the risk when you are planning your outdoor activities, to wear long sleeves and pants and apply an insect repellant containing DEET.

The Indiana State Department of Health has more information about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever on its website.

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