PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WTVF) — Family members believe a tick bite was behind an Indiana toddler’s death last weekend, CBS affiliate WTVF reports.
Two-year-old Kenley Ratliff’s family is warning others about how dangerous tick bites can be, especially for younger children.
“She just glowed everywhere she went,” said Kenley’s aunt, Jordan Clapp. “That white hair made her stand out, and she had big brown eyes.”
Kenley’s health declined over just the course of a week. She started out with a high fever, and doctors told her family that she probably had a virus like strep throat, but antibiotics did nothing to help.
The toddler went limp after five days of the fever, and her family rushed her to the hospital, where she died on Sunday.
Before she died, Kenley’s skin was covered in a rash, one that her family was told may have been caused by Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a rare, tick-borne illness, and symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle pain. A rash is also a common side effect.
Family members are still waiting on Kenley’s autopsy results, which could take two weeks to determine exactly what caused the toddler’s death.
“I’m so thankful I got to spend the two years and Kayla’s thankful she even had the two years she had with her daughter,” said Clapp. “Her father, Stony, is so thankful for the memories we have now.”
“We don’t want any family to go through what we did,” continued Clapp. “It just happened so fast and we couldn’t do anything about it. She was just laying there in the hospital living off of a breathing tube, and we couldn’t do a thing for her.”