A FAMILY from Devizes is backing a campaign to getter a better test for a disease which has left their teenage daughter struggling to cope with life for four years.
Maddie Bourlet, 16, still suffers from chronic fatigue and has been forced to miss many days of school school after it took six months to get a diagnosis for Lyme disease.
Her mother Michelle Bourlet said: “She was at school part- time, she has missed a lot. Her health started going downhill again in February.
“The medical system doesn’t seem to know what to do to help, she has been passed between medical professionals a few times now. She isn’t the only one either, there are other people with very similar stories to hers.”
She spent six weeks suffering from a flu-like bug but despite numerous trips to the doctor her condition was not diagnosed.
Her mother says Maddie was eventually tested for Lyme disease but the result was not read properly and this delayed her getting vital antibiotics.
On May 24 other Lyme disease sufferers in Wiltshire will be supporting a protest at Parliament Square in London calling for the NHS to improve the test which leads to diagnosis of the disease.
Devizes MP Claire Perry has backed the protest but apologised that other engagements means she cannot join the campaigners.
She said: “I saw a very good friend suffer with Lyme disease and know how awful it can be – that’s why I welcome efforts to raise awareness of this often unknown problem.
“Whilst sadly I have existing diary commitments on 24 May which mean that I will be unable to join my constituents at the World Lyme Day event in Westminster, I will continue to speak with health ministers about raising awareness of Lyme disease, and I will stay involved in the campaign as much as possible.”
Burbage GP Trevor King, who is a supporter of World Lyme Day, said: “We know Lyme disease is endemic in this area, so people need to be particularly careful.
“If you’re at all concerned get in touch with your GP immediately as it’s better to treat Lyme disease at an early stage.”
Although not all ticks carry the bacterium, if not diagnosed and treated early it can cause devastating symptoms and in some cases can prove to be fatal. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, if symptoms are recognised early enough and correctly treated with antibiotics, there is a good chance of recovery.
Anyone walking in the outdoors or handling pets is at risk.