Tick’s bite of Shelburne toddler begins battle with Lyme disease

Amy Woolvett, The Vanguard
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Gordon Pushie, Marisza Nickerson, Lisa Harris and Chaza Pushie. Chaza is fighting Lyme disease from a tick bite.  

When Lisa Harris first noticed rashes on her daughter’s legs and torso she didn’t realize it would become a medical battle her family would need to fight for years.

Chaza Pushie was only two years old when she broke out in over a dozen blotches on her little body.

Harris brought her to the emergency room to see a physician who looked at the rash and sent her home, feeling it was nothing.

It wouldn’t be until two years later, after strange symptoms for a toddler began to develop, that testing revealed Chayza had Lyme disease.

In August, her knees began to swell at an alarming rate.

“It was huge,” says her mother.  “Her knee was the same size as two of my fists put together.”

Both Harris and Chaza’s father, Gordon Pushie, brought the child to several doctors, including specialists at IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax.

Her knees were drained, X-rays were given and tests were conducted.

One doctor at the IWK asked if Chaza ever had a rash. Her parents remembered the blotchy rash she had at the age two.

“He tested for Lyme and it just came back positive,” says Harris.

Two years earlier, the rashes had not set off any alarm bells for Lyme disease because they were not the usual type of rash doctors expect to see. A bulls-eye rash is the usual indication of being bitten by a Lyme disease-carrying tick, but there was no bulls-eye on the rash.

The family was told Chaza only the second child to be seen in Nova Scotia who did not have the bulls-eye rash yet still develop Lyme Disease.

Her doctor is treating the disease aggressively with antibiotics in hopes to quell the disease.

“People don’t know how bad this is,” says Harris. 

She posted her daughter’s rash photos to Facebook asking people to share them so she could spread the word to protect against tick bites in the county.

Both parents are sure Chaza never had a bloated tick on her. They don’t recall ever finding one. 

They hope the treatments will work to stop the progression of the disease.

5 things to know

 

  1. Infected blacklegged ticks can spread Lyme disease to humans through their bite.
  2. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include skin rash, headache, fever or chills, fatigue, spasms or weakness, numbness or tingling.
  3. Some additional symptoms can also include muscle and joint pain, brain fog, paralysis and nervous system disorders.
  4. Sometimes you may not experience symptoms until weeks after an infected tick has bitten you.
  5. If you find a tick that has bitten you, save it and bring it to a doctor if you start to display Lyme disease symptoms.

Organizations: Hospital in Halifax

Geographic location: Shelburne, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Donna Lugar
    March 15, 2016 - 07:31

    Lyme disease can present in many different ways. You will note from #2 above that it says "can include". Not everyone gets a rash and, of those that do, not everyone sees it. Ticks like warm, moist places that are not overly visible. Ticks in Nova Scotia can also carry other things along with, or instead of, Lyme. Prevention and knowledge are key! I have heard recently that many people seem to think that Lyme is just a rash and flu-like symptoms and once they go away you are fine - even without treatment. This is not the case! Borrelia burgdorferi is a spirochete, similar to Syphilis. They can make their way throughout your body and affect all systems. I am aware of at least two cases of Lyme carditis in the province. Both were in their 20's. One ended up with a pacemaker before Lyme was diagnosed. The other had antibiotics (at her insistence). It is hit or miss whether a Doctor knows much, if anything, about tick borne diseases so you need to know as much as possible. Please take tick borne diseases seriously!

  • Jim Wilson
    March 13, 2016 - 23:11

    For doctors to have told the family that their daughter was only the second child in Nova Scotia to have been diagnosed with Lyme disease who did not have the classic bull's eye rash shows a level of incompetence within the medical community that is rampant coast to coast in Canada. Not only is the rash rare, the classic bull's eye form is much rarer. see http://canlyme.com/lyme-basics/symptoms/classic-lyme-rash/