Tragically, 6-year-old Emilee Russell of Black Mountain, North Carolina has died after being bitten by a tick over Memorial Day weekend, ABC affiliate WLOS reported. Not long ago, Emilee finished Kindergarten and had so much to look forward to; however, after an unexpected tick bite, a tick borne sudden illness known as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever took control of the young girl’s body and caused her untimely death.
The tick borne illness, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), is a potentially fatal illness caused by the bite of an infected American dog tick, brown dog tick, and Rocky Mountain wood tick. RMSF is the most common tick-borne illness in the Carolinas. Symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever include lethargy, fever, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dark circles around the eyes and muscle pain. A spotted rash on the extremities may also develop but is often absent in the first few days, and in some patients, may never develop. A scab may also develop at the site of the tick bite. Antibiotics are most effective if started before the fifth day of symptoms. The illness is diagnosed in the early stages through clinical signs and symptoms. Blood tests can be conducted to diagnose the illness as well. Early detection and treatment is the key to halting the progression of RMSF. If left untreated the illness can cause complications such as damage to multiple organ systems, profound neurological deficit issues, amputation of limbs due to the damage caused in the process of the disease and even death.
The young girl’s father, Battalion Chief at Black Mountain Fire Department, Chief Steve Jones describes the young 6-year-old as, “Just… that pretty little smile… she could just look at you with that smile and break your heart.” While the Carolinas will certainly feel the loss of a precious life lost way too soon, it is the hope of the Emilee’s Primary School teacher that her life is not lost in vain; Ashley Styles states “I definitely want people to be more aware of what a small tick bite can do.”
Unfortunately for the Upstate, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is just one of the many tick borne illnesses that homeowners must watch out for. In addition to RMSF, ticks can also cause Lyme Disease and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. Mosquito Squad of Greenville wants to remind residents that there is no magic immunization available to prevent becoming infected with a tick-borne illness. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from coming into contact with a potentially infected tick is through knowledge, tick control and prevention.
Currently, Mosquito Squad of Greenville offers a tick intensive treatment that is designed to eradicate all life cycles of the tick. We combine tick tubes along with our safe and effective barrier spray to keep you, your family and pets protected from potentially infected ticks on your treated property. To learn more about tick eradication contact Mosquito Squad of Greenville today. Call us today for a free quote at (864) 362-2013!
You can also read more about Emilee and the fundraisers set to raise money for her medical bills at: https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/06/14/girl-dies-after-tick-bite-infection/