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Woman stuck in agonizing cycle of health problems after insect bite 5 years ago


A woman who was bitten by an insect five years ago is now in constant fear she will die.

Fern Wormald, 48, has never felt well since being bitten on her toe while on safari in Senegal in 2017.

She believes it triggered a condition she now suffers with called lymphoedema, which causes excessive swelling, usually in the legs or arms.

It puts her at higher risk of infections, and a month ago, she was hospitalized with deadly sepsis.


Terrified of getting sepsis again, Fern, from Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, is looking for ways to treat her countless health problems.

She told Yorkshire Live: “I’m trapped in a vicious cycle, and I’m living with the threat of sepsis all the time.

“The doctor’s actual words to me were: ‘We’ll see you again, we’ll treat you, we’ll send you home. We’ll see you again, we’ll treat you, we’ll send you home’.”

Fern was on a trip to Africa, where she and her daughter were teaching Maths and English to schoolchildren in The Gambia, when she was bitten.

She says doctors have been unable to agree on what bit her, with suggestions including a snake, spider, or a mosquito.

Fern was bitten either by a snake, spider, or a mosquito.
Andy Catchpool

After being prescribed antibiotics, Fern returned home when “enormous blisters appeared” – and she spent seven weeks in hospital.

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Fern said she cannot remember everything that happened because she suffered delirium.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.

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