Appleton teen shares health scare with rare tick-borne disease

by Brittany Ford, FOX 11 News

Carissa Beyer of Appleton, shares her experience as she was recently diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a rare tick born disease, September 17, 2017. (WLUK)

APPLETON (WLUK) — Just a month shy of heading off to college with a volleyball scholarship, Carissa Beyer of Appleton was forced to put her plans on hold.

“It really spiked in May, I got sick. That’s when I stopped playing volleyball, I wasn’t able to make it through the last month of school,” she explained.

At the time, Beyer’s father Chris, says she was battling what was similar to “flu-like” symptoms, for over a year, “During her senior year, she had unexplained symptoms, and illnesses, that we weren’t really sure of what was causing it.”

One of the more prominent symptoms, she says was a rash, “Starting with a rash, fatigue, fever, just achy.”

After multiple blood tests, and being referred to a specialist, Beyer was told she had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

“Basically, you get bit by a tick, and then rapidly progresses with various different symptoms,” continued Beyer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention severe cases of the disease can cause permanent damage, including the loss of arms, legs, or fingers.

The disease is very rare in Wisconsin, which is one of the reasons Beyer’s father Chris, says they had initially ruled it out, “We looked at Rocky Mountain early on, because systemically it was very similar, but we thought how would she get it in Wisconsin.”

He says they are still unsure when and where Carissa may have contracted the illness.

But it is curable.

“Doxycycline, is what is treated for lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain Fever,” said Beyer.

As she puts the illness behind her, she’s looking forward to getting back on the volleyball court, and starting her college career, “The goal is to get there second semester.”

The most recent numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show only 5 cases of the disease were reported in 2015.

The department explains in most cases the infections occur outside of Wisconsin.

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