Stokes County Health Dept. can’t confirm tick disease

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DANBURY, NC -- The Stokes County Health Department Thursday could not confirm a case of Rockey Mountain Spotted Fever in Walnut Cove.

Emily Tilley, owner of Emily's Closet on Main Street, says her physician diagnosed her with the disease in April and that an infectious disease specialist in Winston-Salem confirmed the diagnosis with a positive test.

According to Stokes County Health Director Scott Lenhart, the County needs to test Tilley to confirm the case. Now that her doctor has already put her on antibiotics, the case can't be confirmed.

"That's what happens. They don't get tested [here]. So we really don't know. Right now in Stokes County we have no confirmed cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever," Lenhart said.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a bacterial infection that can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, and fever. It's named for a rash that sometimes breaks out on the skin. It can be fatal if not treated.

The disease comes from different kinds of ticks, but the main carrier in North Carolina is the dog tick.

One thing Lenhart could confirm is that ticks are out in force this spring.

"Prevention is best. Insect repellant, the proper clothing, covering up, that's the best," Lenhart said.

According to Lenhart, Stokes County had two cases of RMSF all last year