Tick-borne illnesses reported in Missouri

Ticks spreading sickness in Missouri
Published: Jun. 7, 2017 at 2:51 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2017 at 4:53 PM CDT
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MISSOURI (KFVS) - Ticks like to hang out in places like parks, and so do kids. That's why news of a child's death possibly linked to a tick bite can be so alarming.

A two-year-old girl from Indiana died this week from what doctors believe to be Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

The little girl developed a high fever and her parents took her to the emergency room where they treated her for strep throat.

After two rounds of antibiotics, her fever did not subside and she was admitted to the hospital.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has reported 82 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in 2017; and 97 total of cases of tickborne illnesses.

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

"As teachers, we want to make sure we are more aware of checking them especially days like this where go to the park," Bell said. "And make parents aware that kids are getting sick or possibly even dying from this."

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

"Check behind your ears, behind your knees," Presley said.

She also suggested washing clothes in hot water.

If you have found a tick on your child, Presley said to watch for certain symptoms that could indicate a problem.

She said there haven't been any reported deaths due to tick-borne illnesses in Missouri in the last few months.

The Illinois Department of Public Health offered some tips to avoid tick bites:

  • Wear light-colored, protective clothing - long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots or sturdy shoes and a head covering. Treat clothing with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin
  • Apply insect repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours
  • Walk in the center of trails so grass, shrubs and weeds do not brush against you
  • Check yourself, children, other family members and pets for ticks every two to three hours
  • Remove any tick promptly by grasping it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pulling it straight out. Wash your hands and the tick bite site with soap and water

You can click here for more information on the IDPH website.

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