Pennsylvania Boy on Road to Recovery After Contracting Tick-Borne Illness
"We want everyone to be aware of the real risks associated with tick-borne illnesses and be vigilant when it comes to prevention and symptom recognition," the boy's mother told the New York Post.
A Pennsylvania boy is on the road to recovery after contracting a rare and dangerous disease from a small tick bite.
In a neighbor's pool on June 15, three-year-old Jonny Simoson was swimming when his mother saw a little spot on his right shoulder blade, which was about the size of a pen point, according to the New York Post.
Jamie, Jonny’s mother, easily removed the tick, which wasn’t embedded, with a pair of tweezers, she told the New York Post.
Two days later, a red bump appeared on Jonny’s back.
It wasn’t until two weeks later when Jonny was not acting like himself.
“He was mopey, had no appetite, and the fact that he was complaining about a headache was not normal for a 3-year-old,” Jamie wrote in a Facebook post.
Over the following few days, the symptoms got worse, so his family took him to the doctor, who prescribed some medication.
“We called the doctor the very next morning, and I said he’s sleeping a lot and that’s really not like him,” Jamie told the New York Post.
She rushed her son to the ER after a second trip to the doctor because his fever had risen to 104 degrees, the New York Post reported.
According to WKRC, when Jonny’s parents rushed him to the hospital, his white blood cell count had grown to 30,000; a normal count for someone 3 years or older is 5,000-10,000.
Jonny needed to be moved to a specialty physician.
"Things got really scary at that point," Jamie told the New York Post. "It was so frustrating searching for an answer. We were terrified that we might not be coming home with our child."
Neurologists were able to determine that Jonny had meningoencephalitis, an infection of the brain and the delicate tissue around it after an MRI, according to the New York Post. There were encouraging results following a night of intravenous immunoglobulin therapy, a treatment for patients with antibody deficiencies, the outlet reported.
According to the New York Post, Jamie believes the treatment brought her son back.
“Within 15 hours of his first dose, I heard ‘Mommy, is that pepperoni pizza?’” she told the New York Post.
The outlet said it was actually a tissue box but to Jonny, it looked like a pizza box. All he wanted was a slice of pie, the New York Post wrote.
Little Jonny was awake and spoke after being unresponsive for nearly five days.
“It was amazing. That was the first time since the whole situation started that my husband and I both just completely broke down,” Jamie told the New York Post.
The outlet reported Jonny was discharged after 12 days in the hospital.
"Jonny was still not walking, and his balance was poor," Jamie told the New York Post. "We knew we had a ton of work to do but were up for the challenge."
Jamie told the outlet that Jonny tested positive for Powassan virus, a rare and dangerous disease spread by ticks, three days after he was released.
"Since there are not a lot of confirmed cases, we are nervous about what his future might hold and the potential long-term effects, but overall pleased with his progress," Jamie told the New York Post.
The family created a Facebook page following Jonny’s journey since the tick bite. Jonny had been enjoying fun in the water while also working with a physical therapist.
"We want everyone to be aware of the real risks associated with tick-borne illnesses and be vigilant when it comes to prevention and symptom recognition," Jamie told the New York Post. "A tiny tick could have taken our sweet boy from us. We are so lucky to be able to share his story."
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