Eastern Kentucky boy diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Published: Jun. 19, 2017 at 9:07 PM EDT
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One Eastern Kentucky mother is warning other parents after her son was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Sandy Melton and her two sons left their home in Harlan County on June 9th, to spend time at several locations in the Northeast.

However, a couple of days into their trip, her son Jaden became ill.

"Three days after arriving in Washington, he started running an extremely high temperature of 102.8," said Melton. "He was fatigued, he had a headache and he was very nauseated with a sore throat."

One doctor thought Jaden had strep throat and prescribed him a Z-pack. Then, another doctor believed his illness was viral and sent him home for the sickness to run its course.

However, Jaden's symptoms gradually became worse and a rash appeared. Bringing doctors to another startling diagnosis.

"He asked Jaden how long he had the rash and we told him and then he said 'I am going to test him for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever'," said Melton.

Melton said everything began to make sense.

"The morning we started our vacation, which was June 9, Jaden had found two ticks on him," said Melton.

She said they just picked the ticks off and went on their way, not thinking about what side effects the bites could have.

Dr. Mitchell Wicker said Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is difficult to diagnose because the initial symptoms are prevalent with other illnesses.

"A rule of medicine is that common things are common and uncommon things are very uncommon," said Dr. Wicker. "So unless you're in an area where you see a lot of something, you're going to be less likely to pick it up."

Melton wants to warn other parents because the illness can be deadly if it's not treated quickly.

"If you start running a fever and you're having a headache or your child complains about having a headache or talks about their throat being sore or they're tired....get them to the doctor immediately," said Melton. "Say 'I found a tick on my child a few days ago'."

Doctors said it's important to check for ticks after spending any time outside. They suggest wearing long pants or long-sleeved shirts while you're outside.

Jaden spent a couple days at a hospital in New York City, received antibiotics and has since been released from the hospital. Doctors plan on keeping a close eye on him as he continues to take medicine.

According to the CDC, symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle pain, lack of appetite, red eyes and rash. The rash usually occurs 2-5 days after a fever begins.

For more information on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, click