Eight year old Rosa enjoyed lots of camping with her family in the summer of 2006. Rosa, her family, and fellow campers suffered tick bites that year. Rosa's tick was discovered two days after it attached. It was fat with blood when it was removed. Her father smothered it with petroleum jelly and pulled it out with his fingers. The mouth parts remained behind in the skin. Rosa's family was unaware that this method of tick removal had probably resulted in infective fluids being regurgitated by the tick.
Within a few weeks, Rosa began to complain of feeling ill. She had headaches, a sore tummy and she looked tired and grey. She was permanently cold, needing extra clothing and blankets at night, but no obvious cause could be found and she didn't show signs of fever.
In 2007, Rosa's shoulder pain forced her to give up gymnastics. She felt so unwell that her parents and teachers wondered if she could be suffering from anxiety about something but she denied she was worried over anything. Investigations were made for a possible urinary tract infection but nothing was found.
The following year, Rosa's fatigue forced her to give up swimming club and after-school activities. She felt too exhausted to join in and breathless on exerting herself. She felt that her heart was pounding. Her headache and sore tummies continued. She began to isolate herself from her friends as she wanted to rest and read at home.
Lorna, Rosa's mother, became aware of Lyme disease when a friend was treated. She wondered whether Rosa was ill because of an incorrectly removed tick. Soon after Rosa's father was bitten by a tick and because there was a small rash around the bite site, his GP treated him with antibiotics in case he had Lyme disease. Another doctor at the practice remarked that this was "over the top". Because of this comment, Lorna decided to do nothing when Rosa was bitten again, despite the fact that she had a pale rash around the bite site too.
In September 2008, Rosa was tested for Lyme disease. Her tests proved positive. However, her GP wondered whether this was just picking up on a past infection and was a normal immunity as she had been bitten by ticks before. He referred Rosa to a paediatrician but treated her in the meantime with antibiotics for two weeks.
Soon after starting the antibiotics, Rosa felt much better but after they ceased she began to feel unwell again. By January 2009, Rosa was suffering from blinding headaches, she was forgetful, unable to concentrate and was sensitive to light. She was utterly exhausted. When she finally saw the paediatrician, he diagnosed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but agreed to seek the opinion of a paediatrician with infectious diseases experience. This doctor recommended intravenous antibiotics for four weeks.
After treatment, Rosa improved a great deal but she still suffered with fatigue and could only manage school part-time. Slowly, over months, she improved and finally is now attending school full time again.