HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – A Hampton boy is recovering after coming down with a potential deadly disease traced back to a tick bite.
Doctors say 3-year-old Rylee Boyce developed Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
“I thought it was one in a million that it could ever happen to me,“ said Rylee’s mom, Lindsay Murphy.
It started with a fever, then a rash on his hands and feet.
“I thought it was chicken pox at first,” Murphy said. “He started to get sore to the touch. If I gave him a hug or if I barley grazed his leg, he would say, ‘mommy, you hurt me.’“
At first doctors thought he only had the flu, but his condition got worse. Murphy rushed her son to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. “As soon as he got there, they wanted to do more blood work,” Murphy said. “That’s when they said it looked like a viral infection.“
Rylee was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, an illness passed to humans though a tick’s bite.
“I never saw a tick on him,” Murphy said. “Not one. It could have been from anywhere. I just never saw the tick.“
The 3-year-old spent five days in the hospital, most of that time sleeping. It was tough for any mother to see. “It is the worst thing that any mother can go through,“ Murphy said. “When I looked at my child, it did look like he was laying there dying.”
Thursday, Murphy and her son Rylee were back to playing outside, and it’s days as simple as that which she no longer takes for granted. Rylee is better now, but Murphy knows the threat is always there.
“I am so scared of anything, even a mosquito bite,” Murphy said. “I‘m watching his every move, watching. [We are] using bug spray, because the doctors said if I keep using bug spray it will keep them away.“
According to the Center for Disease Control, there is an average of 1,500 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted fever in the U.S. per year. Less than one percent of those cases end in death.
The CDC says key symptoms are fever, muscle pain, headache and rash. Click here for tips on how to prevent Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.