Deadly tick bite may have killed IN toddler

Carla Harmon
June 9, 2017

Kenley Ratliff, of IN, was surrounded by friends and family during a several-day stay at Riley Hospital for Children IN Indianapolis, where her condition worsened from a 104-degree fever to a brain infection.

On a GoFundMe page set up in Kenley's honor, the family writes, "Now our goal is to spread awareness of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in hopes of saving other children's lives".

With a 104 degree fever, Ratliff was given an antibiotic and placed on a breathing tube, but died early Saturday morning with a brain infection.

Kenley Ratliff, aged 2, died after being infected by a tick carrying Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

The Indiana State Health Department said it received 40 reported cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in 2016 and 30 reported cases in 2015. That's why news of a child's death possibly linked to a tick bite can be so alarming.


Kirby went on to say that Kenley's parents are determined to raise awareness of how unsafe rick bites can be. While doctors struggled to diagnose the child's illness, more physical symptoms began to appear, including swollen hands and rashes. Her family is now waiting for autopsy results to confirm whether a tick bite caused her death. "Just the condition of this poor baby laying there the way she was.it's a mother's nightmare, a father's nightmare", Kirby said.

Kenley spent most of her young life wearing a huge smile and sharing a bright presence.

According to a medical source, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever was first identified in the Rocky Mountains. Most often they are rashes, fever, headache, and nausea.

Spreading awareness of the disgusting illness and how to prevent it is how Conn says she will cope with losing her Kinley, a part of her life and a piece of her heart.

But on Sunday the devastated family posted an update which read: 'We are very sad to inform everyone that Kenley has become an angel.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that the disease's progression greatly varies, and patients treated right away may have quick recovery on outpatient drugs.

Summer is almost here, and it's bringing fears of a rare tick-borne disease called Powassan.

Summer is the season when ticks are the most populous, but those numbers may be even higher this year.

Keeping grass trimmed and plants cropped around homes are good practices to prevent ticks. Wash your hands and the tick bite site with soap and water.


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