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  1. ITV Report

Devastated parents fear Lyme disease killed daughter 11 years after tick bite

Carly Ellis died in June after years of unexplained illnesses. Credit: ITV News West Country

The parents of a woman from Gloucester who died after eight years of unexplained illnesses say a tick bite was to blame.

Ian and Cheryl Ellis found their 39-year-old daughter Carly dead in her bed at their home in Finlay Road, Gloucester, on June 29.

The pair believe she succumbed to Lyme disease, a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks.

Cheryl and Ian Ellis say they have been left devastated by their daughter's death. Credit: ITV News West Country

They say Carly was bitten while in Australia in 2008, and became increasingly unwell and susceptible to infections following her trip.

Cheryl and Ian told ITV News their daughter's health would have been much better if the need for treatment of the tick bite had been identified sooner.

Carly's parents believe she had Lyme disease. Credit: ITV News West Country

Recalling the day Carly died, Cheryl said they knew “something was wrong” the second they saw their daughter lying in bed.

Ian went up to wake her and found her gone. He just screamed that something was wrong. We called an ambulance but we both knew it was too late. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. We’re devastated. It won’t ever be the same.

– Cheryl Ellis

The number of Britons diagnosed with Lyme disease could be three times higher than previously thought, new research has found.

Up to 8,000 people a year in the UK may suffer from the disease, which can lead to severe joint and nerve problems.

Lyme disease is spread to humans by infected ticks. Credit: ITV News West Country

Cheryl and Ian are now calling for greater awareness of the disease following Carly’s death.

I think people need to be more aware if they’re bitten not to just brush it off and say ‘oh, I’ve been bitten’ to just be aware, maybe do some research into the symptoms of Lyme disease to see if you could have been bitten by something that’s infected with that. It’s very simple - you just get bitten by a tick and then that’s it.

– Cheryl Ellis on raising awareness