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“It rapidly progresses:” Tick bite led Appleton woman to delay plans to go to college on scholarship

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Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

APPLETON — An Appleton woman had to put plans to head off to college on a volleyball scholarship on hold as the battles an illness caused by a tick bite. She spoke out about the illness with FOX6’s sister station WLUK.

“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,” Carissa Beyer told WLUK.

Beyer’s father Chris told the TV station his daughter had flu-like symptoms for more than a year, and they ddin’t know what was causing it.

“Starting with a rash, fatigue, fever, just achy,” Beyer said.

Multiple blood tests and a specialist revealed the diagnosis: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

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

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is rare in Wisconsin — and Beyer’s dad told WLUK they had 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?” Chris Beyer said.

It’s unclear where Carissa Beyer may have contracted it, but the good news is that there’s a cure — antibiotics.

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

Beyer said as she puts this illness behind her, she’s now focused on getting back on the volleyball court and starting her college career.

WLUK checked in with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and they reported only five cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Wisconsin in 2015.

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