Natalie’s Story: 110 ticks in one day

During her years in the service of New South Wales National Parks, Natalie Young was often bitten by ticks. For years, this was no big deal. She lived a healthy lifestyle, surfing regularly on top of her active, outdoor, dream job as Field Officer Discovery Park Ranger.

She had renovated a couple of houses, was happily married and looking forward to the future, including starting a family. Life was good.

One particular day at work in 2002, not one, but 110 ticks embedded themselves into Natalie’s skin. Later, she found out she had crawled into a nest. Natalie had no idea what this event would set in motion. She had no idea about the potential health consequences of tick bites in Australia, and no idea of the protracted battle for her life that she would soon face. “No need to worry about ticks here,” she was told, early in her career. Almost twenty years later it seems hard to believe; that a public servant employed to manage bushland areas did not receive vocational training about ticks and potential tick-borne diseases.