Woman Loses Her Limbs after Contracting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from Tick Bite

PetMD Editorial
Published: August 17, 2015
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An Oklahoma woman is on a ventilator after complications from a tick bite caused all of her limbs to be amputated.

Jo Rodgers, 40, and a mother of two, was placed in a medically induced coma earlier this month when she was diagnosed with Mountain Spotted Fever after a tick bite had gone undetected.

According to a report from KOCO.com news, Rodgers began to develop flu-like symptoms after she and her family returned from celebrating the July 4th holiday at an area lake.

“She was shaking her hands because they hurt, her feet hurt,” Rodgers's cousin Lisa Morgan told KOCO. “They tested her for West Nile Virus and for meningitis.”

The results of those tests came back negative, but Rodgers's condition continued to deteriorate. By her sixth day in the hospital her organs began to shut down, forcing her doctors to amputate her limbs to stop the infection.

“By Saturday morning, her arms and feet were turning dark blue and black,” Morgan said to the news station. “It was crawling up her limbs.”

The report was unclear, but at some point she was asked about her vacation and a possible tick bite that went unnoticed. That single tick bite, now noticed, led to the diagnosis of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever—and forced her doctor’s hand to amputate.

There have not been further updates on Rodgers's current condition, but Morgan has launched a GoFundMe account to help with some of the financial burden. She outlined the seriousness of Rodgers's treatment on August 3.

“They finally found that she has Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever—the worst case seen—she is still on a ventilator and being kept sedated to help with pain,” Morgan said. “Although she will have insurance for a couple more months, her medical bills are mounting daily and will continue as she will be in the hospital for many more months with rehab, prosthetics and home and car renovation to accommodate her needs. “

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is caused and carried by ticks through a rare and aggressive bacterium known as Rickettsia Rickettsii. This sometimes fatal illness is found primarily in North and South America and can be transmitted to both humans and dogs through several infected tick species, including the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, and brown dog tick.

Both humans and dogs should be checked for ticks and tick bites if they have spent time outdoors or in a wooded area.

Find more information about the diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment options for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, click here.

Image: Via Morgan's GoFundMe page