Indiana girl who died after tick bite had spotted fever

CREDIT: Riley Children’s at Indiana University Health

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (AP) — The mother of a 2-year-old central Indiana girl who died after being bitten by a tick during a camping trip says lab tests confirmed she was infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Kenley Ratliff of Plainfield died June 4 at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Her mother, Kayla Conn, says lab tests showed her daughter tested positive for Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a tick-borne bacterial infection that can be deadly if not promptly treated. The cause of the girl’s death, though, has not yet been confirmed.

Conn tells WTHR-TV she’d never heard of the illness. She’s urging others to be aware of the dangers of tick-borne diseases.

Kenley fell ill after returning from a camping trip during which a tick bit her. A doctor says she was in the advanced stages of the illness within days of arriving at Riley Hospital.

Dr. Chandy John, the pediatric infectious disease specialist at Riley Children’s Health who treated Kenley, said the illness is rare in Indiana, but residents should still be aware.

“It’s not very common in Indiana,” said “The reasons to be concerned or to have a highlighted awareness of the possibility of it is if you’ve been outdoors where you know there might be ticks, because it’s a tick-born illness.”


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