A 15-year-old girl is being treated in hospital for septic shock caused by a bite from a tropical ant infestation in her home.
Rayanne Turay had to seek urgent medical treatment after an ant bite on her leg became infected.
Her mum, Jordann Griffiths, said she first complained to the council months ago. Although work has been carried out to combat the infestations, it wasn’t enough to get rid of the ants.
She told Sky News that the hospital took swabs from her daughter’s bites, which determined they were from ants.
“One of her bites, which was under her armpit, turned into an abscess and they drained it out and took swabs… and confirmed it was from an ant bite,” she said.
Mrs Griffiths added that “Rayanne is traumatised” and that she doesn’t want to come home.
“She doesn’t want to even see this place,” she said. “It was very scary for her. It was scary for me, and scary for her dad and people to see her the way she was.”
Housing experts say infestation cases are on the rise as the condition of the housing stock declines and unfit living conditions like mould and dampness attract rodents and insects.
Kwajo Tweneboa, a housing campaigner, said Mrs Griffiths got in contact with him several days ago regarding her daughter’s situation.
“I found that quite shocking straight away,” he said, adding that he hadn’t seen a case “as serious as that before”.
“She had said that she’d complained in the past and was really shaken up and quite fearful of what was going to happen to her daughter.”
He added that Mrs Griffiths has had multiple issues since living in her council home for the past 15 years, including damp, mould and disrepair, as well as the ant infestation.
“As soon as I saw it, I was very, very worried. If things were a lot worse and it didn’t turn out to how it’s played out, it could have been a lot worse for her and her daughter,” he said.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital also wrote a letter to the council, urging them to remedy the situation, after Rayanne was admitted under their care.
A Wandsworth Council spokesperson told Sky News: “This is obviously a distressing set of circumstances and we sincerely hope this young person makes a swift and full recovery.
“We are aware of a Pharoah ant infestation at this resident’s property and using a pest control contractor we have treated the property three times over the summer and will continue to repeat the treatments until the problem has been dealt with.
“A number of repairs to the property are also in hand and while we carry out these repairs and treatments we are offering the resident alternative accommodation so this situation can be resolved as quickly as possible.”