Crissy Brownstein Naticchia told The Mighty that her husband of 23 years was diagnosed with Babesia, a tick-born illness that quickly attacks the red blood cells.

His diagnosis came after the 50-year-old had come down with an intense fever that eventually landed him in the Intensive Care Unit.

However, because it took six days for her husband to get the correct diagnosis, he never recovered. Naticchia’s husband unexpectedly passed away the day after his diagnosis.

She told The Mighty:

Here I am, sitting in a hotel room my 50-year-old deceased husband bought with his Marriott points to take our daughter back to college. It has been almost a month since his sudden death and being at his alma mater has really been difficult. Not only did he lead us with directions and reservations but led us with his infectious excitement towards the campus he loved. I am so lucky to have such an amazing family who not only accompanied me on this trip, but has been there for me and my kids in every way possible. However, it still does not diminish the feelings I have (and I am sure my children too) when we revisit the many places he talked about and shared with us.

Naticchia continued by saying that prior to her husband falling ill, he was working hard to stay healthy for his family through diet and exercise. 

She added:

My husband was all about his family – he did everything for us, unconditionally – which we took for granted like most people do. Now that he is not here, we feel lost and scared and alone. […]

I lost the father of my children because he was bit by a tick and the infection that developed is not widely known. If the doctors were able to diagnose him one, two or four days earlier, might he have survived? We will never know.

And that is exactly why Naticchia’s is sharing her husband’s story — to warn others of the dangers of “the parasitic infection.”

According to Fox 2, scientists have recently discovered an exotic tick species in the United States, specifically in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. It is not known what type of tick bit Naticchia’s husband.

It is believed that the East Asian tick cannot only clone itself, but also has the ability to carry a disease that can kill a human within 48 hours. 

As Fox 2 reports, the ticks discovered in New Jersey have not been discovered to carry the deadly disease.

Kayla Socarra, a researcher at Drexel’s Center for Advanced Microbial Processing, told Fox 2 that she was “scared” by the number of ticks, mosquitos, and other blood-sucking creatures that are not dying out during the mild winters:

“These ticks and mosquitos are having a field day of sorts. […] Bugs can move into new climates and new places where originally they would have never survived because of warmer temps and increased food supply for them they’re surviving quite easily.”

According to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May, illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the United States.

The CDC continued:

Over the last 13 years, more than 640,000 cases were reported between 2004 and 2016. Nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced into the United States during this time.

Like Naticchia wrote, if people are more educated on this many tick, mosquito, and flea born illnesses, “perhaps it might have made a difference.”

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