Tick bite nearly kills Laurel woman

Tick bite nearly kills Laurel woman

Laurel resident Kristi Knight wouldn't wish the scare she endured last July on anyone.

"I look at my husband and I said,'I love you. I don't know if this is ever going to stop,' " Knight said.

Knight said it all started with a tick bite.

"It was a Sunday morning, and I woke up and I was getting ready for the day and I found a tick on my upper left leg," Knight said.

Knight said she pulled it off, and she wasn't concerned until a week later.

"The spot where it bit me, it started coming back and it got really itchy," Knight said. "I started getting really bad headaches."

She said she suffered from sharp stomach pains, so she went to Hattiesburg Clinic Immediate Care in Laurel.

Hattiesburg Clinic Immediate Care Physician Assistant Dylan Wagner ran a blood test and had the results within a few days.

"She had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever," Wagner said.

Wagner said the treatment for the tick-borne disease wasn't going to be easy for Knight.

"She was allergic to the Doxycycline," Wagner said.

Wagner said with no alternative medication, Knight had to take the antibiotic with Benadryl. Two weeks into treatment, Knight's symptoms worsened and the infection spread.

"I would try to talk, my sentences... I could not put them in order," Knight said.

She said she feared for her life the day she collapsed at home. She lost the use of her legs and was admitted to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg.

"They ended up doing a spinal tap," Knight said.

The spinal tap revealed another tick borne disease called Anaplasmosis and Mono. The two infections depleted Knight's immune system and revived the Mono she had from years ago. Knight received antibiotics through I.V., then pill antibiotics for weeks. She said it took months for her symptoms to subside. She said now, she can only manage her health to make sure the diseases stays dormant.

"There could be episodic flares of certain symptoms, but, [we] just kinda treat them as they come," Knight said.

"Check yourself daily, especially here now that summer time is rolling in... check yourselves daily," Knight said.

Knight and Wagner both said you should make sure you spray yourself with a repellant that contains Deet before spending time outdoors. When you're back in doors, check your ankles, clothing and even your hair and scalp for ticks. Wagner added to check your pets and follow the guidelines of your vet. Lastly, Wagner said if you think you have been bitten by a tick, go to your doctor.