3-year-old boy nearly killed by tick bite

The CDC says key symptoms are fever, muscle pain, headache and rash

(CNN) – It can happen to any of us – a day outside could end in with a tick bite. An illness could follow. That’s what happened to a 3-year-old boy.

For mother Lindsay Murphy, playing with her 3 year old son Rylee has never felt so good.

Recently, Rylee wasn’t so active. It started with a fever. Murphy said, “And then he broke out in a rash. I thought it was chicken pox at first.” The rash was on his hands and feet.

Murphy said, “He was started to get sore to touch. If I gave him a hug, if I barely grazed his leg, he would say, Mommy you hurt me”

At first doctors thought he only had the flu– but his condition only got worse– so Murphy rushed to son to CHKD. She said, “As soon as he got there they wanted to do more blood work and test and that’s when they said it looked a viral infection”

Rylee was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever – an illness passed to humans though a tick’s bite.

Murphy said, “I never saw a tick on him, not one time. I check him periodically. It could have been from anywhere and I just never saw the tick”

The 3 year old spent 5 days in the hospital, most of that time sleeping, tough for any mother to see. Murphy said, “It is the worst thing that any mother can go through.”

“When I looked at my child it did look like my child was laying there dying. And I don’t even like saying that because that’s my baby”

Rylee is better now– but Murphy knows the threat is always there.

“I am so scared of anything even a mosquito bite I’m watching his every move watching how he sleeps and using bug spray because the doctors said if I keep using bug spray it will keep them away.” And the farther away the better.

“It’s going to take a little while for him to recover. But now he is back to me.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control there is an average of about 1500 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the U.S. per year. Less than one percent ends in death.

The CDC says key symptoms are fever, muscle pain, headache and rash.

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