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  1. ITV Report

Lyme disease sufferer's symptoms could not be explained by doctors

Lyme Disease Credit: NHS Choices

A woman from Cheltenham has tested positive for Lyme disease after suffering with symptoms doctors could not explain for almost 20 years.

Alice Reeve says doctors never fully understood why she was suffering from chronic fatigue even though she insisted something was seriously wrong.

She thought she had ME or chronic fatigue syndrome and decided to get her blood tested in Germany after seeing a number of cases of Lyme disease in the press. Eventually she tested positive for the bacterial infection.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is carried by ticks, tiny flea like insects which penetrate the skin to feed on blood. This can cause some of the borreliosis bacteria to get into the blood stream. It's estimated that up to 3000 people in the UK are infected every year.

Symptoms can take up to six weeks to appear, and include extreme tiredness, muscle pain and weakness, headaches, loss of sleep, a rash and flu-like symptoms.

Antibiotics can deal with the disease if caught early but if missed the infection can cause more serious long-term problems.

The NHS says on its website that a few people with Lyme disease do go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome. It's not yet fully understood why this happens.

For Alice, having some sort of diagnosis after such a long time does help but she is still angry her illness was not noticed before and that she had to go to Germany to get the diagnosis.