Tick Season Brings Deadly Consequences

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Mary Pat Hirsch Wilde, 85, of Warsaw, passed away on Sunday, June 28, at the Boone Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. Her Funeral Mass was held July 2, and her interment was on July 3 at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in St. Joseph, Missouri. Cause of death was a tick bite.
“My mother’s early symptoms were related to those for the Coronavirus,” said Kathy Wilde Mason, of Kansas City. “She found a tick bite on her foot on June 6, and one on her leg on June 13. Symptoms of fatigue and loss of appetite began on the evening of June 21. She went to Katy Trail for a COVID-19 test, but was told that it could take four to seven days to get the results. Meanwhile, my dad, Don Wilde, took her to Golden Valley Memorial Health Hospital, in Clinton. She had four COVID-19 tests in a week and all were negative. She was transferred from there to Boone Hospital in Columbia, and although she was tested for tick-bite disease, the positive results didn’t come back from the Mayo Clinic until after she died.”
Mason said she heard that there have been more incidents of tick borne illnesses this year than usual, and she knew that her mother would want others to know how dangerous tick bites could be, so that they could take precautions and have a fighting chance against them.
Kansas.com reported on July 5 that while ticks are expected to be average this year, experts say they’re concerned the pandemic may cause a spike in Lyme disease cases. The director of Infectious Diseases at New York-Presbyterian Queens health care system stated that she was worried that people who have been stuck at home will “explode into the outdoors,” and there may not be the same thoughtful approach to avoiding ticks.
The Kansas.com article also reported that cases could go skyrocketing if people are spending more time in dangerous places, and that the pandemic could make people afraid to seek medical care if they are bitten by a tick or notice symptoms of Lyme Disease.
According to the CDC, symptoms can mimic that of COVID-19, including headache, fever, fatigue and skin rash, and if left untreated, infections can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system. The Center recommends getting medical attention if a tick bite is followed by a fever or rash.
There are precautions that can help prevent tick bites. Ticks are most common in small patches of forest, typically near suburban and agricultural areas. When someone is out in these areas, they should wear long sleeves and pants, and if on a trail, stay in the middle of the path and avoid brushes and leaf litter. Consider wearing hats and lightly colored clothing to make ticks easier to spot. Pull your socks up over your pants to make it harder for ticks to get in, and you need to use DEET, 30 percent. Check your clothing and body for ticks after an outing. Shower soon after being outdoors.
www.butlercountyhealth.org reported that there are at least six different types of tick-borne diseases reported in Missouri. They include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Lyme disease, and disease caused by Heartland and Bourbon virus. The majority of these cases occur during May, June and July. Symptoms can begin within two weeks of being bitten by an infected tick. 
Mary Pat Hirsch Wilde grew up in Warsaw and graduated from Warsaw High School in 1952. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Wichita State University and practiced pediatric nursing in Wichita, Kansas, and later in Austin, TX. She married Donald Wilde on December 26, 1955, at St. Ann Catholic Church in Warsaw, and they made their home in various locations all over the world including Oceanside, California; Wichita, Kansas and Austin, Texas. The couple moved to Warsaw in 1996 and lived on Polk Street near wooded areas.  Mrs. Wilde’s parents were Margaret Miller Hirsch and Ernest Hirsch, of Warsaw.
Mrs. Wilde’s obituary stated that “Mary was a loving and caring wife, mother and grandmother who will be dearly missed. She devoted many years to the service of her church community in Oceanside, Wichita; and Austin; as well as those she helped all over the world.