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Bite from tiny fly nearly killed me; mark's tw0-year ordeal after spanish holiday infection.

Byline: LUKE TRAYNOR Chief Reporter luke.traynor@trinitymirror.com @LUKETRAYNORECHO

(c) 2017 BREATHE FILMS LIMITED BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION AND THE BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MOTION PICTURE ARTWORK (c) 2017 STX FINANCING, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.A MAN almost died after he was bitten by a fly while on holiday. Mark Russell was unaware he'd first contracted the potentially deadly parasitic infection from a sandfly back in 2014.

But it took two years for it to be correctly diagnosed and for the dadof-one's life to get back on track. Mark, 46, became unwell after a trip to Malaga with his wife, Yvette, and 16-year-old son.

The Bromborough man suddenly lost lots of weight, suffered from high fevers reaching 40 degrees and often had no strength.

He would change his pyjamas four times a night as his weight dropped from 171/2 stone to 14 stone.

At one stage, medics diagnosed him with kidney stones, but that was masking the real problem caused by the sandfly.

Mark, a funeral care operative, told the ECHO: "Every day, I didn't know what was going on, and neither did the consultants. "I had to be so strong - sometimes I thought I was going to die.

"It's the worst nightmare imaginable, I wouldn't wish this on my biggest enemy."

A former assistant manager at The Tap pub in Eastham, Mark was transferred from Arrowe Park Hospital to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, who worked with experts at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to try and get him better.

Nick Beeching, a consultant at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said: "Mark developed a prolonged fever and became very anaemic.

"Eventually, he was diagnosed and we looked at it under the microscope and could see the parasites causing the fever.

"We started Mark on a toxic treatment. He tolerated that OK, but soon after he had a relapse, so we gave him a longer course of treatment which was very successful.

"He now looks a different man, he's put the weight back on and has regained his energy."

Called a visceral leishmaniasis, the parasitic disease Mark contracted is a life-threatening condition that spreads over the whole body and can become a real problem for people in the Tropics. Those travelling in Spain and Italy can also be affected.

Mark said: "I was off work for six months and it took two years to get me back to full fitness.

"I suffered a lot of muscle wastage and looked like someone with cancer. And the emotional side was very tough - I didn't know what was going to happen to me."

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Mark in hospital during treatment

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 27, 2017
Words:442
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