In just a week, Oklahoma mom Jo Rogers went from being a healthy 40-year old, to being ravaged by what she thought was the flu, to enduring four amputations just to save her life. The culprit: A tick bite.
She had been infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and the bacteria that causes it is carried by a tick. Her family believes she was bitten during a vacation last month, KOCO reported.
Four days after the family visited an Oklahoma vacation site called Grand Lake, she came down with a horrible flu. The early symptoms of RMF mimic the flu — headache, fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle pain, CNN added.
“She was shaking her hands because they hurt, her feet hurt,” cousin Lisa Morgan said.
On day five, she went to the first of three hospitals she’d be admitted to in the next month, News 9. Doctors tested her for every viral and bacterial infection they could think of, but all of the tests came back negative.
Soon after, Rogers, 40, went into septic shock and was put into an induced coma; the mysterious infection was spreading to her limbs and her organs were shutting down by day six, Morgan recalled.
“By Saturday morning, her arms and feet were turning dark blue and black,” Morgan said. “It was crawling up her limbs.”
It was too late when someone finally thought that a tick bite may be causing her mysterious and aggressive illness. And they found the evidence — a tiny tick bite no one had seen before.
As the bacteria spread throughout her limbs, it started to threaten Jo’s vital organs, so doctors had to take drastic measures to save her life keep the RMF at bay: amputations of her legs and arms.
She endured four amputations — her right leg at mid-thigh, left leg below the knee. Surgeons also had to perform amputations to both arms at mid-forearm.
More operations are planned.
As the young mom fights for her life on a ventilator, still in a medically induced coma, Lisa does her best to be positive even though the woman’s life will never be the same, just because of one small tick bite.
“You’re going to get to watch your boys grow up,” she told her. Jo’s Rogers, 40, has two boys, aged 12 and 17.
She said doctors have told her Jo’s case of Rocky Mountain Fever is the worst they’ve ever seen. Indeed, the severity of her infection is rare, but many people catch the bacteria from an unsuspecting tick bite every year. Oklahoma, unfortunately, is one of the state’s where the infection is more common.
The illness is usually treated with antibiotics, but that treatment must begin within five days of the tick bite. Unfortunately, Rogers’ family didn’t notice it until too late. Only 3 percent of the insects even carry the bacteria that cause the fever, and it usually has to bite for up to six hours.
With her cousin still in the hospital and unaware that she’s suffered amputations to all four limbs, Lisa is heartsick.
“She’s a beautiful, energetic fun person. I mean nobody deserves this.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the medical bills.
[Photo Courtesy Erik Karits/Shutterstock]