Misdiagnosis of Lyme Disease has ruined the life of a healthy Welwyn model.
Jessica Bennett, 31, was misdiagnosed for six and a half years by over 30 doctors. Her condition gradually worsened after contracting the disease in Germany in 2009. She went from being involved in Olympic dressage to being bedbound.
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Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks, and if left untreated can spread across the body resulting in severe long-lasting symptoms.
“There were days when I was crawling on my hands and knees to get to the bathroom,” Jessica said.
“I ran marathons, I used to push cars around for fun, I had never been tired in my life and was nicknamed ‘Duracell Bunny’, and now I’m completely crippled.”
It remains to be seen how much of the damage is reversible, but Jessica has now begun intravenous treatment.
Due to limited knowledge and resources in England, Jessica and her partner, Matt, are fundraising to get her a specialist Lyme doctor in America in hope of reclaiming her health and happiness.
Jessica is also keen for the Government to introduce mandatory Lyme training for GPs, provide more efficient Lyme screening nationwide, and get Lyme specialists from overseas to train consultants here.
For more information and to donate, visit www.gofundme.com/savejessicabennett
Deer ticks that carry the disease are found in three quarters of London parks.
It’s a nasty illness that could tick you off for years.
The Daily Mirror reports:
The disease, normally confined to moors and grasslands, has reached the suburbs,the headlines read .
Eighteen months ago I wrote about my sister who lives in south-west France where Lyme disease is rife. It’s a cautionary tale. As she walks her dogs through deeply wooded country every day she’s had the infection more than once and it can be very nasty.
As we know from recent news stories it isn’t only in France where the condition can catch up with you. If you walk on grassland, particularly if deer roam there, you’re a candidate.
Acute Lyme disease is like very nasty flu with a high fever, headaches, rash and nausea. Fatigue can be huge. You have aches and pains everywhere and sore muscles.
It’s important to see a doctor and get antibiotics because if the disease is misdiagnosed or left untreated it can go on to something resembling post-viral fatigue syndrome which may last for months.
My sister’s last bout dragged on a long time so I looked up the literature.
It turns out there’s a chronic form of Lyme disease (post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, PTLDS) that is very difficult to eradicate.
Her long-term symptoms were aching joints, headaches, inability to concentrate and indescribable fatigue that made her miserable.
Desperate, she finally consulted a Lyme specialist , who treats patients with long-term antibiotics. Afterwards she felt healthy for the first time in a year.
Her experience isn’t unusual and experts now realise that about a sixth of Lyme disease victims go on to develop a chronic illness even if their initial infection was diagnosed and treated.
Long-term antibiotic therapy for PTLDS is based on the risk that patients may have hidden reservoirs of the bacterium, a spirochaete called Borrelia burgdorferi, that causes Lyme disease.
Many people who are infected with it never know they have been bitten by the tiny deer tick that spreads the bacterium from animals to people.
They may never develop or notice the red rash that can result. Even when a rash occurs, only one in five has the characteristic bull’s-eye shape.
Such people may never get treatment for the infection in its early stages and end up weeks, months, even years later with the kind of symptoms that have plagued my sister.
If you’re a dog walker, be alert. Examine your dog periodically for ticks.
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