Doctors believe tick bite led to two-year-old girl's death

WTHR reports that 2-year-old Kenley Ratliff, of Plainfield, died Sunday after her family suspected she was infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted fever following a tick bite during a camping trip.

Kenley Ratliff died in the hospital on June 3, according to WISH.

Kirby says Kenley was admitted to Riley Hospital for Children last Tuesday after her high fever didn't break.

The Tennessee Health Department says Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis are preventable by avoiding tick bites, promptly removing ticks that do get on the skin and seeking medical care for a fever or rash after a possible tick bite. "That their baby girl is gone now". While doctors struggled to diagnose the child's illness, more physical symptoms began to appear, including swollen hands and rashes.

Kenley's family said the toddler loved to play outside, and relatives had no idea where she may have picked up a tick.

"Just the condition of this poor baby laying there the way she was, it's a mother's nightmare [and] a father's nightmare", Kirby added.

Daycare employee Nikki Bell was shocked when she heard the number and said she wants to make sure more people are aware.

"We don't want any family to go through what we did", continued Clapp. There were 40 cases reported in 2016, 10 more than the previous year, the Indiana Health Department stated. They said between 2004 and 2014, there were 16 deaths attributed to Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the state. The family is now dedicated to spreading awareness about the bacterial infection.

Experts said this could be an especially unsafe year for ticks across the Midwest. If not treated right away with antibiotics, there is a high death rate associated with the disease.

Symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomitting and muscle pain. This summer is predicted to be the worst tick season ever, including for tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease. Doctors recommend that parents closely check their children after they've been outside.

Communicable disease coordinator Vanessa Presley suggested that you check your kids for ticks every time you come inside.

  • Salvatore Jensen