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Lyme disease has dominated my life

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Legend of the mediaMorven-May MacCallum still suffers nine years after the start of treatment

Morven-May MacCallum says his illness is still "completely dominated" by Lyme disease, nine years after the start of treatment.

The disease records about 200 people a year in Scotland, but it is thought that the actual number is much higher.

The disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by a bite of an infected tick.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health of Scotland has written to all NHS boards and general practitioners urging them to be vigilant about Lyme disease.

The advice of Catherine Calderwood intervenes in connection with an increase in the number of cases of debilitating condition.

She added that doctors should be alert to the risks if the patient has already spent days walking outside, in areas where there are ticks.

Ms. Calderwood stated that it was difficult for general practitioners because a patient's symptoms could be vague – fatigue, muscle aches, possibly a runny nose – and the likelihood that he would if acne Lyme disease was very weak.

There is a distinct bubble-shaped rash, but not everyone has, which can complicate the diagnosis.

According to health guidelines, antibiotic treatment is an effective treatment for most people, but many claim that they have a chronic form of the disease that persists with severe symptoms.

Such a condition is not widely accepted by doctors.


Morven suddenly became ill at the age of 14

Morven-May, of Black Isle, is now 26 but she just turned 14 when she suddenly became ill.

"I loved mountain biking, riding, riding in Munros on weekends," she told the BBC Disclosure's Under The Skin program.

"I was training to climb Morven Mountain in Caithness." I was one of those really boring people who never stopped, I never stopped to continue … I just bounced everywhere. "

All of this changed when what started was felt like a flu became more serious.

She said: "I was sleeping in the school bus, going home and collapsing on the couch, I literally got up, went to school, and went to school. am collapsed every day.

"I had to leave school at age 16 because every day, when I was home, I was so weak that I could not walk physically anymore."


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks

Her doctors thought she was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, but a neighbor – who had already suffered from Lyme disease – intervened.

Morven-May said, "They had seen me struggling to walk and they told my mother's about Lyme disease."

"She really did research and she presented this research to the doctors and specialists I saw, and they again refused to accept that it could be Lyme disease because all my analyzes of blood constantly came back as being negative. "

This was finally confirmed by a Lyme disease expert in a private clinic in England.

Morven-May said: "She diagnosed me clinically after studying my history, then she ordered blood tests that were sent to America and Germany, and they came back positive with Lyme disease."

It's been nine years since she began her treatment, but she said her life was still "completely dominated" by the disease.

"There is not a single second during which I feel that it does not control me and that it will not monopolize my body," she said.

Lyme disease


There is often a distinct rash

  • Ticks that can cause Lyme disease can be found everywhere in the UK
  • High risk areas include the grassy and wooded areas of southern England and the Scottish Highlands.
  • To reduce the risk of biting, cover your skin, put your pants in your socks, use an insect repellent and stay on the trails
  • If you are bitten, remove the tick with the aid of a tweezers or a tick removal tool found in pharmacists.
  • Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water
  • The risk of getting sick is low because only a small number of ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
  • You do not need to do anything else unless you become sick
  • If you have been bitten by a tick or have visited a region in the past month where you have infected ticks and have flu-like symptoms or a circular red rash
  • These symptoms may include a feeling of heat and chills, headache, sore muscles, or a feeling of nausea

Source: NHS Choices

Lyme disease was only reported for the first time in the 1970s by doctors in the United States.

Reported cases are on the rise in the UK and the Highlands have been identified as a hot spot of infection.

Dr. James Douglas, a general practitioner in Lochaber, regularly sees patients with the disease.

He told BBC Scotland's Disclosure that the tick bite would be the first obvious sign, but that if the bacteria penetrated deeper into the body, it could cause serious illness.

"This can mainly affect the nervous system and can therefore cause paralysis," he said.

"It can affect the joints and at this point, antibiotics can certainly kill the bacteria, but in a percentage of people, they still have very debilitating symptoms for quite a long time."


Dr. Lucy Gilbert is a tick expert, but a doctor has refused to believe her about Lyme disease.

Dr. Lucy Gilbert of the University of Glasgow is a specialist in ticks and Lyme disease.

She said that when she was bitten, her doctor refused to accept that it could be Lyme disease.

Dr. Gilbert said, "It was really frustrating because I knew I had it, I found a tick on me, I knew it was the right kind of tick, it had been on for at least 24 years. hours, c The area where I knew other people had contracted Lyme disease before.I had rash, which is supposed to be diagnostic. "

Later, another doctor prescribed intravenous antibiotics and she fully recovered.

Most doctors say that definitive evidence of chronic or long-term Lyme disease has not been established.

Dr. Douglas said that there was "scientific uncertainty" in understanding people's immune system response to the bacteria.

He said, "I think the bacteria is no longer there, but I think their immune system is still very active, and that's where these symptoms come from because of the activity of the immune system, to fight. "

Disclosure: Under the Skin is on BBC 1 Scotland at 8:30 pm on Monday, June 17 and on the virtual player.

Previous disclosure investigations include:

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