Monday 24 October 2016

British MP diagnosed with Lyme disease after chance conversation with constituent

Saphora Smith

Published 13/07/2016 | 09:04

Michelle Donelan Conservative MP for Chippenham has been diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Michelle Donelan Conservative MP for Chippenham has been diagnosed with Lyme disease.

An MP who was bitten by a tick after a weekend away in Latvia was diagnosed with Lyme disease after a chance conversation with a constituent.

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Michelle Donelan, 32, the Conservative MP for Chippenham, noticed a rash on her upper arm after she appeared as guest of honour at the Semington village fete in Wiltshire.

She thought nothing of the bite until a week later, when a man suffering from the tick-borne disease came into her weekly constituency surgery to discuss care options.

It was then with alarm that she realised she was already suffering the symptoms herself, and sought medical attention.

Ms Donelan said "I knew that I wasn't well, I had the rash for a week and it was getting worse but I thought nothing of it.

"On Friday I had my surgery and a chap came in and he wanted to talk about level of care and Lyme Disease. I did a bit of research on it and saw the symptoms and thought that's how my rash looked.

"I had a bullseye mark half the size of my arm and that's when I knew what it was. I was quite lucky, as if you don't get it really early, it can damage your nerves and can eventually lead to death."

Following her diagnosis she said: "I feel absolutely terrible - I'm suffering from severe tiredness and feeling sick.”

In another post she added "After 5.5 hours I can confirm the hospital think I have Lyme disease and I have three weeks of antibiotics.

"Thank goodness that man came in regarding the disease yesterday at my surgery. Thank you a thousand times to him. It appears MP surgeries can help MPs too!"

In recent years reports of the tick-borne disease have risen. Last year there were around 2,000 to 3,000 new cases in England and Wales.

Symptoms can include a bull’s eye red shaped rash, tiredness, muscle pain and headaches. If left untreated the disease can lead to heart problems, seizures and mobility issues.

John Caudwell, the founder of Phones4U, has accused the NHS of ‘negligence’ in failing to fully investigate the increasing number of cases across the country. He has called for more research after he claimed that 11 members of his family had contracted the disease.

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