Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever case treated

Friday, April 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

What looks like a case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever has been reported in Tulsa, an unusually early case of a disease transmitted by ticks. KOTV's Emory Bryan says people might not think that ticks are out this early in the year, but they're active anytime the weather is above freezing.

A 12-year-old boy is proof that ticks are out, and some are infected with a serious disease. 12 year old Seth Harcrow is on the couch and on the mend, glad to be out of the hospital after 4 days of treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. "I heard of it but didn't think it would happen to me." He's tired but recovering, and his mother, Sue Warwick, is relieved to finally know what they're dealing with. It looks like flu; it looked like flu initially. But it wasn't until the rash showed up that the connection was made between the illness and a tick bite a few days before. Seth says, "I picked it off with my fingers and stomped on it."

Seth's mother believes the tick came from their back yard, a surprise to them because it's only April. Dr. Eric Westerman with Hillcrest Healthcare says, "Most cases occur in warm weather but I've seen one case between Christmas and New Years." And Doctor Westerman says most Spotted fever cases come as a surprise because the symptoms mimic the flu, and sometimes the tick bite goes undetected. "And if the person doesn't know they've had a tick bite then it often is misdiagnosed as the flu until the rash comes on."

Seth was lucky to be diagnosed correctly, in time for treatment that should have him back on his feet soon. "I don't want to go through it again, but I feel better now."