Wake County mom recovering from tick-borne illness sends warning

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wake County mom of three is recovering from Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a tick-borne illness, that she didn't know anything about until she ended up in the emergency room.

Donna Wilson, of Apex, would rather be spending the summer outside and not in bed on antibiotics.

"I noticed something odd on my back area and asked my husband to take a look at that and we found that I had a lone star tick.," said Wilson.

Wilson's husband pulled the tick out and put it in a plastic bag. Two weeks went by without a rash or fever.

Wilson said she ended up in the emergency room but the emergency room doctor didn't test for a tick-borne illness.

But the next day, her family doctor did and just as the results came back confirming Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Wilson became immobile.

"The soreness, it's unbelievable. At the get go, I felt as though I was hit by a truck or something. I just couldn't move," she said.

"It's not super dangerous if you get it treated and treated quickly. But it can be fatal if you don't get treated quickly or appropriately," said Alexis Barbarin, a NC Public Health Entomologist.

Barbarin said that the American Dog tick carries Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. According to the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services, the Lone Star tick is also being investigated as a possible carrier.

Wilson said she was wearing long sleeves and bug spray while mowing the lawn last month, but it wasn't until three days later when she noticed the tick on her back.

She said she hopes others will learn from her story.

Make sure to check for ticks, no matter how vigilant you are about preventing them.
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