A teenager was robbed of two years of her life after a tick bite left her in a ‘zombie-like’ state and barely able to move.
Danica McDougall was walking her dog in Manly Vale, in Northern Sydney, three years ago when she received the life-changing bite, leaving her wheelchair bound.
She became seriously ill and developed Lyme disease – an illness not recognised or treated by doctors in Australia.
Danica McDougall (pictured) was walking her dog in Manly Vale, in Northern Sydney, three years ago when she received an infectious tick bite which left her battling Lyme disease
The illness is not recognised in Australia and the family had to pay $35,000 for ozone therapy (pictured) treatment in Cyprus
The 17-year-old told Manly Daily she remembered being bitten by a tick while walking at David Thomas Reserve as a 14-year-old, but could not recall much since.
‘I do remember the dog walk and remember finding the tick on my back, but I don’t remember the years after that because it was a pretty quick downward fall,’ she said.
‘I couldn’t tell you how I coped with it or what I did to occupy my time because it’s a blank slate. In my mind I’m 14, but I’m 17 now.’
Her mother was forced to take on the role of her full-time carer
Four months after the bite, Danica (pictured) was told she was carrying borrelia bacteria in her body, and was recommended to detox with herbal supplements and antibiotics
More than four months after the bite, Danica’s mother, Wendie, made a breakthrough discovery.
She saw a television program about the disease, an infection spread to humans by ticks, that despite being recognised by 80 other countries, was not yet in Australia.
Eventually a doctor told the family Danica was carrying borrelia bacteria in her body, and recommended she detox using herbal supplements and take antibiotics.
‘I believe that not all doctors are unwilling to treat borellia and co infections, they just don’t know what to recognise or how to treat,’ Mrs McDougall told Daily Mail Australia.
It was only after seeing multiple other doctors that eventually her mother came across one who confirmed her suspicion that her daughter (pictured) had Lyme disease
‘They have no support from the medical association, education or funding for research and are at risk of deregistration.’
Danica’s best chance at recovery remained offshore, in Cyprus, where Lyme sufferers from around the world travel to receive ozone therapy.
Family and friends raised $35,000 for Danica to have the treatment, which had proven incredibly effective in other patients from Australia.
The therapy made a radical difference to the teenager, who for the first time since the bite, was able to walk up and down stairs, talk and laugh.
Danica’s (pictured inside machine) best chance at recovery remained offshore, in Cyprus, where Lyme sufferers from around the world travel to receive ozone therapy
The therapy made a radical difference to the teenager (pictured with a nurse), who for the first time since the bite, was able to walking up and down stairs, talk and laugh
‘I can hold conversations. I can actually think. I’m better at remembering, though it’s hard for me to remember what I had for breakfast or what I did yesterday because my short-term memory is practically non-existent,’ Danica said.
Despite the improvement, she still faces a long journey to remission and to repair the horrific damage to her nervous system and strengthen her immune system.
Mrs McDougall has urged the government for help in raising awareness about the illness and providing treatment for its unlucky sufferers.
‘The government has refused to recognise Lyme or support patients with care as they have put it in the too hard basket. How long are they going to ignore us?’
Mrs McDougall started a Go Fund Me account to help with ongoing medical bills for her daughter.
Despite the improvement, Danica (pictured) still faces a long journey to remission and to repair the horrific damage to her nervous system and strengthen her immune system