A young British woman backpacking in Australia is fighting for her life after contracting blood poisoning from a stray kitten.
Scarlet Goodrich’s family and friends are desperately trying to raise the money needed to fly her home to Devon after she picked up meningitis, a mutated strand of toxin plasma and acute ADEM, a swelling of the brain.
But the 22-year-old is facing spending Christmas in a hospital in Melbourne, where her mother Alethea has flown to so she can be at her bedside.
Scarlet, from Teignmouth, needed emergency surgery and requires around the clock care, with her brain being closely monitored.
However, her condition has improved since she first went to hospital reporting back pain.
It is believed she became ill at a fruit farm where she worked.
Her uncle Christian Goodrich said: ‘This has come as such a shock to the family. It’s a very rare and unusual scenario which has baffled the doctors and specialists.
‘The doctors think she might have picked up this very rare and unusual toxin from a stray kitten she came into contact with while fruit picking on a farm.
‘This week she is doing somewhat better, and making small steps to recovery. She has battled through the meningitis and the toxin, so it is mainly the ADEM which doctors are trying to address.’
He added that doctors believe Scarlet’s rehabilitation could take between six months and two years, and a nurse will have to accompany her on her flight home.
As part of her treatment, Scarlet is having small doses of chemotherapy to tackle the toxins.
A JustGiving page set up for her healthcare has raised about £2,000 so far.
Scarlet moved to Australia on a work visa 15 months ago and has been working with an agency that finds work for backpackers, such as picking fruit.
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