Many of us may consider tick bites as an ordinary thing, and we even sometimes forget we have been bitten. I mean, of all the dangerous things to be worried about, catching deadly diseases from insect bites tends to be something of least concern. Right?
But let me you the story of Crissy and her husband of 23 years, Jeff Naticchia. The 50-year-old outdoorsman lived near a woodland full of deer in Pennsylvania and had been sick only twice in 26 years, according to Crissy. He had been bitten by ticks countless times but thought nothing of it.
Mr. Naticchia went to the doctors last July with fever-like symptoms but was told he had a kidney infection and prescribed antibiotics. Then, Four days after his hospital visit the telecommunications worker died, leaving behind his wife and two children.
Anyone familiar with malaria or dengue knows tiny insect bites can be the source of some of the most terrible diseases on the planet.
Tick bites were common for Mr. Naticchia who lived near woodlands in Pennsylvania with his family. It turns out the father-of-two had contracted babesiosis, a malaria-like disease, from the parasite bite.
Crissy was worried about her husband worsening condition, so she rushed him to the emergency room, wishing to get some kind of answer but all the tests came back negative. He got sicker which made Crissy more worried.
“He had been having drenching sweats— so bad he would have to change his clothes and bedsheets,” Crissy said.
“Urgent care tested his urine and diagnosed him with raging kidney infection, and prescribed him antibiotics. The fever and sweats went away but he still felt weak and not well.”
It got so bad that one day he had to leave work to go to the emergency room and just 12 hours later he was on a ventilator in the ICU.
Even though the tests were coming back negative, doctors did determine that his kidneys and liver were shutting down.
Unable to determine any other information aside from the fact that his liver and kidneys were shutting down, the hospital was forced to send him to specialists.
It was there that his true diagnosis was revealed – a disease called Babesia. Also known as Nuttalia, it is a disease spread by tick bites.
Unfortunately for Chrissy’s husband, the illness usually has fatal effects due to how it attacks the red blood cells in the victim’s body. Finally, with a proper diagnosis, progress could be made.
The couple was initially hopeful, but that hope was short-lived. At 4:30 am, Chrissy got a call from the hospital informing her about her husband’s deteriorating condition. Soon, she received a bombshell – her husband had passed away.
Filled with frustration and anger at the tick’s bite that took her husband away and left her son fatherless, Chrissy swore to share her story.
She hopes that by educating more people about this, fewer tragedies like this will occur.