Lyme disease is transmitted by tick bites
THE parents of a young woman who suffered with the debilitating effects of Lyme disease want to raise awareness and improve diagnosis of the illness.
Felicity Watkins, who was known as Fizz and came from Lyde, near Hereford, died on April 25. She was 30.
Her parents, Robert and Karen Watkins, told the inquest how difficult it had been to get a diagnosis.
It was after a school trip to the Brecon Beacons in 2003 that Fizz came down with a high temperature, ached all over and appeared feverish.
She later suffered with chronic fatigue and was wrongly diagnosed with ME. But this was just the beginning of her agony.
Her parents said Fizz went to see many doctors and specialists, but nobody could find out what was wrong, which they said crushed her spirit.
It was when they visited a clinic in Germany in 2016 that it was confirmed she had Lyme disease and in the April she started treatment. But by this point she was in the chronic late stages of the illness.
Lyme disease is transmitted by tick bites. A flat, red rash, often described as a bullseye, which progressively expands is a symptom of Lyme disease and unique to this infection, though sadly not all display this.
In a joint statement Mr and Mrs Watkins said: “Seeing our daughter’s life destroyed has been the worst nightmare. Lyme disease is the major epidemic of the 21st century. It is six times more prevalent than HIV/AIDS ever was back in the 1980s, but public awareness is non-existent.
“Why is there no acknowledgement of Lyme disease in such a medically advanced country and why is there no cure? People are left to struggle on their own. Nobody deserves to suffer like she did.”
It needs to be diagnosed and treated immediately or a Lyme Disease test can often provide a false negative result. The couple want to see proper diagnostic tests and for doctors to be Lyme educated. They are urging everyone to learn about the disease, which needs to be diagnosed and treated immediately. They also want to raise funds for research.
They both thanked and acknowledged the kindness, respect and compassion from so many including all of the emergency services.
They added: “Sadly compassion does not make the news headlines but we think it’s remarkable and are humbled and profoundly grateful.”
Coroner Mark Bricknell recorded she took her own life. For details of Lyme’s, go to caudwelllyme.com