Indiana girl who died after tick bite had spotted fever, lab tests confirm

Kenley Ratliff

PLAINFIELD, Ind. — The mother of a 2-year-old central Indiana girl who died after being bitten by a tick during a camping trip says lab tests confirmed she was infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Kenley Ratliff of Plainfield died June 4 at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Her mother, Kayla Conn, says lab tests showed her daughter tested positive for Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a tick-borne bacterial infection that can be deadly if not promptly treated.

Kenley’s family says she had just gone camping before the sickness started. Within five days they say the infection took over her small body.

“The fever is the first sign and then it leads to bumps all over, red rashes everywhere, head to toe,” Kenley’s Grandma Rhonda Conn told FOX59.

With family by her side holding her tiny hand, doctors and nurses tried to save her from an illness Conn says she did not even know existed.

“I have never ever heard about it, ever. I had no idea what this was,” said Conn.

According to the State Department of Health, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is on the rise in Indiana. The department says there were 40 cases just last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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