Where I live in Guildford Surrey UK I have got to know well over a dozen people who have/are suffering with chronic Lyme Disease. All have NHS and or private testing supporting their diagnosis which is something surprising considering the 50/50 chance of getting positive blood tests.
No doubt there will be many more people who I don't know about and many people who haven't been checked to see if they have Lyme Disease which could be causing their symptoms. My diagnoses were Fibromyalgia, Poly Myalgia Rheumatica, ME/CFS and my symptoms were Chronic Arthritis and Muscle Weakness it took 5 doctors and 3 Rheumatologists 4 years to diagnose me. However symptoms of Lyme Disease can be many and affect every system and organ in the body.
The countryside around Guildford consists of chalk downland and woods, very beautiful but sadly rather over run by deer. To the side of my neighbouring woods the landowner breads Pheasant in Clandon Park. Consequently the surrounding countryside is also awash with pheasants which are also frequent visitors to our gardens.
It was some time ago that I came across research done that showed Pheasants as competent hosts for Borrelia(Lyme Disease).
Competence of Pheasants as Reservoirs for Lyme
KLAUS KURTENBACH,1, 2 DOROTHY CAREY,2 ANDREW N. HOODLESS,1, 3
PATRICIA A. NUTTALL,2 AND SARAH E. RANDOLPH1
Ticks feed on the blood of just about any bird or mammal and some reptiles too. They pick up Lyme disease and other infections from these animals, e.g. mice, voles, squirrels, blackbirds, pheasants and seabirds, which naturally carry the diseases. Ticks carry more diseases than any other invertebrate host. If an infected tick subsequently bites you, it may transfer one or more of the diseases into your bloodstream.
A tick can be born with the disease that its infected mother tick carries. So, all three stages of the life cycle, larva, nymph and adult, are capable of transmitting disease.
Sadly despite my and my MP Anne Milton's efforts with the Local Authority there is not one public notice or awareness leaflet available to the general public in this locality advising of the risks of contacting Lyme disease and many of my neighbours are oblivious to these risks. Children play in the fields bordering the woods and on the Downs with no protection and I have heard of several cases of tick bite and bulls eye rash where treatment was not offered by doctors.
There is a widespread lack of knowledge and awareness in Britain regarding tick-borne diseases. Many people with typical symptoms will not actually be tested for the presence of even the most common of the diseases. For those who are tested for one or more of the possible diseases, a negative (and thus inconclusive) test will generally result in further investigation being abandoned. Few people will be lucky enough to see a GP with sufficient knowledge to give a clinical diagnosis, i.e. based on symptoms, knowledge of a tick bite event, etc.
For many years, criticism has been aimed at the clinical unreliability of laboratory tests. It is suggested that official statistics for prevalence of tick-borne diseases in Britain are an underestimate of the true picture.
It is likely that the majority of people suffering from tick-borne diseases do not receive treatment at all because they remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Awareness still remains the best strategy.
You should make it more difficult for a tick to reach your skin by wearing shoes rather than sandals and tuck long trousers into socks.
Ticks can be more easily seen on white or light-coloured clothing.
Avoid a tick's favourite places by walking in the middle of paths and check yourself after sitting on logs or leaning against tree trunks.
Use a light coloured blanket for picnic, it is then easier to check for ticks.
Check your pets for ticks when they come into the house and especially keep them off bedding and soft furnishings. Consider using anti-tick pesticides for pets, consult your veterinary surgeon for advice.
Consider spraying your clothing with an effective anti-tick pesticide. There are a variety in outdoor shops and chemists. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully.
Further information can be found at http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/