Boone County girl dies from tick-borne disease

Thursday, August 30, 2007 | 2:14 p.m. CDT; updated 7:41 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

CENTRALIA — A 15-year-old girl has died from a rare but treatable tick-borne disease, officials said Thursday.

The Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Emily Powell, a Centralia High School freshman. The cause of death was ehrlichiosis, a bacterial illness. She died Wednesday, two days after being admitted to University Hospital in Columbia.


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Symptoms of ehrlichiosis include fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. Other signs and symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, joint pains, confusion and rashes.

Symptoms generally appear after an incubation period of five to 10 days following a tick bite. The disease, if detected early, can be treated with antibiotics.

State officials reported 117 cases of ehrlichiosis through mid-August, nearly three times the annual average. Higher-than usual rates of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and lyme disease are also being reported.

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