Leeds family warns other parents of deadly tick infection

Leeds family warns other parents of deadly tick infection
(Source: Brittany Dionne)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and rash are the symptoms associated with a rare disease spread by tick bites.

A family in Leeds said their son had it and they got a diagnosis in the nick of time.

“If we would’ve waited it out…just a couple more days, we would’ve been in dangerous territory,” said Jon McWhorter of Leeds.

(Source: Brittany Dionne)

The disease is called Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - the most deadly infection spread by ticks in the world.

McWhorter’s son, Will McWhorter was bitten by a tick on the back of the neck while visiting family in Louisiana.

At first his dad, Mcwhorter, said he was not too concerned.

“It’s just part of going in the woods,” said McWhorter.

However, Will’s symptoms got worse and a rash spread over his entire body.

“It just itched a lot,” said Will.

With several doctor’s visits and the prescribed antibiotic’s not working, Will ended up in the emergency room.

“The fever was really high, like 104 and really intense pain in his head and stomach,” McWhorter explained.

A blood test revealed the rare and deadly disease called Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever which is spread by bites from infected ticks.

The CDC reports death can happen in only 8 days after contraction, if not treated. The McWhorter’s found out the diagnosis on day five.

The family warning other parents.

“Don’t be too careful and don’t just assume,” said McWhoter.

Treatment requires taking the specific antibiotic Doxycycline. Will quickly recovered, said his dad.

He said he planned to head back into the woods soon.

“I like the woods a lot,” Will exclaimed.

While the majority of RMSF cases happen during the summer ticks can still bite during the spring, fall, or even year-round in warmer areas, including Alabama.

Copyright 2019 WBRC. All rights reserved.