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Carrie Elaine Mollett, 9

Health officials confirm Gordon County girl died of tick-bite illness


Public health officials have confirmed that a Gordon County third-grader died of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Carrie Elaine Mollett, 9, died May 10 at T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga. Carrie, daughter of William Albert and Melissa Faye Mollett of Resaca, was a third-grader at Max V. Tolbert Elementary School. “This has been confirmed as a case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever,” said Logan Boss, public information officer for the Northwest Georgia Public Health Office. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most severe and most frequently reported tickborne illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is broadly distributed throughout the continental United States, as well as southern Canada, Central America, Mexico and parts of South America. Last year, there were 17 confirmed and 61 probable cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and 12 cases of Lyme disease in the Georgia. While none of those cases were fatal, one person died from tick-related human monocytic ehrlichiosis. Boss said the Public Health Office has identified no other probable cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Gordon County. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by bacteria that is spread to humans by tick bites Common symptoms of tick-borne disease often happen between four days to four weeks after being bitten and may include fever, rash, headache and muscle pain. See Wednesday's Rome News-Tribune for complete story.