SUFFERING: Old Bonalbo's Jennifer Taylor has MMA (Apha-gal) caused from a paralysis tick bite.
SUFFERING: Old Bonalbo's Jennifer Taylor has MMA (Apha-gal) caused from a paralysis tick bite. Susanna Freymark

Tick bite forces woman to become 'accidentally vegan'

JENNIFER Taylor is sick.

On her "throne" positioned in the middle of her Old Bonalbo home, she spends a lot of time sitting, almost breathless, and dreams of eating melted cheese on pizza.

With pre-existing skin and heart conditions, she was bitten by a paralysis tick in 2008 which caused such severe food allergies she became an accidental vegan.

"Ten years ago I was bitten behind the ear by a paralysis tick," Ms Taylor said. "It was left on overnight and when I woke I had a severe asthma attack, it was a doozy.

"Then my skin broke out in petichea with broken capillaries all over my face, neck and chest.

"I didn't associate this with the paralysis tick at the time. I had just pulled it off and killed the wee monster."

Little did Ms Taylor know that the "wee monster" would change her life for the worse.

"Being mostly vegetarian, I started to notice that if I had anything with meat in it, or on it, I would react with agonising stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea, and my loo is a long-drop out in the paddock," she said.

The list of foods she had allergic reactions to included meat, then seafood, eggs and finally dairy products.

"It has gotten to the point after 10 years that I cannot even touch anything that has those ingredients in it,"' she said. "I am so sensitive that my poor partner has to go sit on the veranda to eat his tuna or sardine wrap. I have become accidentally vegan."

She has been diagnosed with mammalian meat allergy (alpha-gal) called MMA, which is distinct from Lymes disease, she said.

The Australian Government has been reluctant to acknowledged tick-borne diseases in humans and recently announced funding into Lymes Disease. MMA has only more recently been recognised in Australia.

For people who suffer like Ms Taylor, recognition, awareness and funding are important.

As a member of the Tabulam CWA, Ms Taylor would like to see CWA groups across Australia make MMA their charitable disease to highlight the condition.

"There is no cure," she said.



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