Tamela Wilson, from Sullivan, Missouri, is dead after developing a rare bone disease that was brought on by a tick bite.
Wilson was the first person in her state to develop the deadly virus that is called the Bourbon virus. The disease is so rare, when Wilson first came in to the doctor after she got bitten by the tics, they assumed it was something minor, like a UTI.
When antibiotics were clearly not working, that’s when doctors delved deeper into her case.
A woman from Sullivan, Missouri, died after contracting a rare tick-borne illness.
Tamela Wilson was reportedly the first person in the state to contract the Bourbon virus.“You wouldn’t want this for your worst enemy,” Wilson’s stepmother, Kathy Potter, told KMOV. Wilson was the fifth confirmed case of the Bourbon virus since it was discovered in 2014.
Wilson reportedly saw a doctor after removing two ticks following the Memorial Day weekend, and was first diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. She was given antibiotics, but Wilson’s father, Geoff Potter, said she got worse every day despite the medication.
Wilson, a mother of three, had lived and worked at Missouri’s Meramec State Park for 10 years.
“The doctors were beside themselves,” Potter said. “They said it’s a medical mystery.”Wilson ultimately died from the virus on June 23.Dr. Morey Gardner, director of the Infectious Diseases Center at St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis, said there is “no specific therapy” for the Bourbon virus, but recommended wearing repellent, long clothing and checking for ticks regularly to avoid contracting the deadly illness.
Wilson’s family reportedly donated her body to science to help make strides in research on the disease, and the Center for Disease Control reportedly began collecting ticks at Meramec State Park for testing.
Many residents were surprised and fearful.
Wilson had worked in the parks department for years, getting more than one tick bite.