HERRIN (WSIL) — Herrin native Peggy Crow says she’s thankful to be alive after being bitten by a tick with a potentially deadly virus.
Her husband, Ray Crow, shares their experience with News 3 in the hope to bring more awareness about this disease. The southern Illinois sweethearts have been married for more than 50 years.They met in Herrin decades ago at work.
Ray says they enjoy spending time together, especially outdoors.
"On September 25th we found a tick on her back and then three days later she began to get sick," says Ray.
After seeing the doctor and getting prescribed antibiotics, Peggy’s symptoms got worse.
"Three days later she kept getting worse. We took her back to the doctor and he sent her to the emergency room," explains Ray.
Peggy then had to be transported to another hospital where doctors induced her into a coma and kept her on a ventilator for nine days, leaving Ray scared and speechless.
Doctors explained Peggy had been bit by a Lonestar tick, which carries a deadly disease.
Experts say ticks are good at transmitting potentially dangerous illnesses like Lyme disease. But now they’re carrying a relatively new disease called Heartland Virus, which can turn fatal. Something Ray didn’t want to be the outcome for his wife, so he turned to God.
"We prayed for her, our church prayed for her, we had people contact us who we didn’t even know to pray for her," explains Ray.
Peggy, says she lost memory of the whole incident. But says, she’s thankful to be here sitting with her husband of 50 plus years. Ray hopes people take precautions while being outdoors. Like wearing protective clothing and spraying yourself with insect replant. He believes it was the grace of god that kept his wife alive.
Both Peggy and Ray Crow says this incident hasn’t stopped them from spending time out doors. They just make sure to use extra precaution to avoid tick bites.