6-Year-Old Girl Dies After Being Bitten by a Tick While on Vacation

tick bite killsA 6-year-old North Carolina girl has died after being bitten by a tick on vacation in Texas. Emilee Russell came down with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever soon after being bitten by the tick and was not able to fight it off. She left behind her mother, father, and twin brother.

This is the kind of story that strikes fear into the hearts of every parent. There is nothing more horrifying than imagining our children feeling fine one day and then being stricken by something suddenly we can't save them from.

A tick bite is part of childhood. Children love to be outdoors. They love to play. We can slather them in insect repellant all day long, but we can't stop ticks. That is terrifying.

It's random, yes. But it is crucial that we talk about these things because if we don't, we run the risk of being uninformed about something that could save our lives or the lives of our children.

Caught early, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can often be treated. Caught too late, it can kill. The only thing we can learn from this is vigilance. My heart goes out to this family who said their little girl had just graduated from Kindergarten and was thrilled to have finally lost her first tooth.

And then she was gone. Just like that. It's just the worst thing ever.

Do you take tick precautions for your kids?


Image via John Tann /Flickr

kid health


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Rootbear Rootbear

I live in Canada, and for the first couple weeks in summer its Tick season. We always check ourselves after just in case. Those suckers latch on and won't let go. This is too bad. Whenever we're out in the country and go home we always make the kid strip down to her gotch and double check her. 

hopea... hopealways4019

I wasn't aware that ticks can kill. That's one more thing to worry about now.

rainm... rainmommy

i live in the boonies ive already pulled 8 ticks off my kids and pets. with the kids i check them over at bath time and with the pets i check them over at feeding time

aeneva aeneva

Ticks themselves do not kill, but the diseases they can possibly carry and transfer to humans can kill.  We have deer ticks that can carry lyme disease around here and so far only one known bite.  My kids are checked after being in the woods.  The known bite my son came in the house and told me something had bit his head and sure enough when I looked there was a tick.

nonmember avatar MoJo

Tick bites, especially in the Northeast and MidAtlantic regions of the US are something to be taken seriously. I had never given Lyme too much thought because I had always heard that a bullseye rash is a definite symptom of Lyme. Unfortunately, we found out that a rash is not always present in cases of Lyme. My nephew was bitten by a tick at 4 years old; his mother removed it, checked for rashes and flu-like symptoms, and when nothing appeared they continued life like normal. Four years later, and after seemingly unrelated symptoms worsened over time, he was diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease. He was only weeks away from losing the ability to walk and be mobile. In the 4 years before his diagnosis, he had chronic strep throat (which led to his tonsils being removed), pains in his joints (attributed at first to "growing pains"), chest pains, balance control issues, personality changes (which almost led to a diagnosis of ASD or ODD), and PICA. Only after a friend of ours who is a neurological PhD spoke with my nephew's mom did anyone realize he had all the symptoms of untreated Lyme disease.

nonmember avatar MoJo

(ctd) He had bloodwork done and it came back positive not only for Lyme, but also several co-infections. As scary as it was to watch my nephew's physical and mental health decline, I am so happy to say he is recovering well and has no physical symptoms today. However, since Lyme can cause neurological problems, he still has residual mild psychological and behavioral issues that are being worked on. I cannot stress enough how important it is to check for ticks in areas where Lyme is prevalent, and to not assume that Lyme is not present if bitten. It is so much better to be safe than sorry. I'm glad my nephew's story has a happy ending, and I hope awareness of tick-borne diseases is increased as it can save so many people so much grief.

katyd... katydid620

I live in Pa. and ticks are horrible here! Three years ago I became so sick I ended up in the ER. I was diagnosed with lymes disease and never knew I was bit by a tick. I was so sick. My lymph node on my neck was huge, horrible neck pain, anxiety attacks, heart palpitations and developed bells palsy. When I found out I had lymes I cried in the doctors office just because I was so relieved to know what was wrong with me. I honestly never knew how serious lymes disease was until then. My dog has also had lymes. Thankfully, it can be treated with a hefty dose of antibiotics.  I have become so paranoid about ticks now and unfortunately, having dogs I find them a lot. Take ticks serious everyone. Lymes disease left untreated can kill you.

adopt... adoption2013

Yes I do I use insect repellant and I check her carefully after being in wooded areas.  I'm Canadian and tick precautions are hammered into most of us.  Btw they have to be removed properly because the head can be detached and then burrow as well.

Tracy Lynn Abbott

Katydid620 I also live in PA and I have lymes diesease..... I currently have to take amitryptiline at bed time, and naproxen as needed for pain...... Some people just don't take it seriously........


lizzig lizzig

where i'm at in the south ticks aren't too bad but i still look out for them when the kids have been near the woods.  i have a good friend that grew up in the n.e. & before moving down to ga when she was in jr high she got lymes disease.  she wasn't diagnosed with it till she was in her early 20's though  she has so many issues as a result of not starting treatment early.  she can't drive, work, walk for extended periods.  seeing what she's going through i definitely don't want it for my children or myself.

1-10 of 82 comments 12345 Last