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A MUM is angry it has taken years for her to be diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening disease, which she may have passed on to her children.
Had Sherryn Jackson been immediately diagnosed with Lyme disease after suffering a tick bite, she says she would not have risked transmitting it to her daughters during pregnancy.
Her NSW GP, Dr Peter Mayne, said he'd diagnosed 20 Victorians with the infection in the past year, but it remained largely unrecognised by Australian health authorities.
Victorian health department spokesman Bram Alexander said the tick responsible for transmitting Lyme disease was not believed to exist in Australia.
"However, if doctors are diagnosing this condition in Victorians we would be very interested in investigating this further," he said.
Dr Mayne said Lyme disease was a bacterial infection that appeared long after a tick bite, and could be cured with antibiotics.
Ms Jackson said she was bitten in Shepparton seven years ago when carrying her first child. The bite vanished after a couple of months, but five years later she began to feel unwell.
"Weird things started happening ... I started getting dizzy spells, I developed balance, co-ordination and speech problems, and headaches," Ms Jackson said.
Many doctors had examined her, blaming an allergy, imaginary symptoms, and possibly multiple sclerosis.
Dr Mayne diagnosed her with Lyme disease last week, and she was awaiting US tests for further details.
She believes at least one of her three daughters contracted the disease from her.
Janaya, 4, has been plagued by health problems, and was admitted to hospital last year with encephalitis, a brain inflammation common in children with Lyme disease. Her twin, Caprice, has had eye problems.
"I'm angry. It should have been picked up. I'd have had three months of antibiotics, and I wouldn't have become sick, and my children wouldn't be sick," Ms Jackson said."