A recent published review from head of Lyme Reference unit talks the talk but does not walk the walk.
Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2010 Apr 17; [Epub ahead of print] Lyme borreliosis: current issues in diagnosis and management.O'Connell S.Lyme Borreliosis Unit, Health Protection Agency Microbiology Laboratory,Southampton University Hospitals Trust, Southampton, UK.
'SUMMARY:Greater efforts are needed to provide education for prevention and early diagnosis to avoid late complications. Further improvements in diagnostic tests would be welcomed. More research is required to assess the causes and management of post-Lyme symptoms.'
So what action to increase awareness, well so far not a lot, updating the HPA website is not exactly going to do much to raise awareness because first of all we need to be aware before even looking at the website.
Be tick aware when visiting the great outdoors
5 May 2010
The Health Protection Agency is advising people to take care when visiting areas where ticks are present, to prevent tick bites and reduce the risk of catching Lyme disease.
Late spring, early summer and autumn are peak times for tick bites and coincide with people venturing into the great outdoors for the warmer weather.
One of the measures the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has taken this year to raise awareness of tick bites has been to provide advice to The Royal Parks for their leaflet on Lyme disease. The Royal Parks are responsible for looking after 5000 acres of historic parkland in London, including Richmond Park and Bushy Park. Several of these parklands have large deer herds, one of many animals that can carry the hard-bodied tick which can transmit Lyme disease.
The Royal Parks leaflet warns of the dangers of tick bites and what visitors should look out for. Leaflets are available on the HPA and The Royal Parks websites, with paper copies available at the information centres at Richmond Park and Bushy Park.
Ticks can be found in forests, heaths, moorland areas and in suburban parkland. Any area, large or small, in which ticks are present should be regarded as having a potential risk of Lyme disease. In recent years according to HPA figures there have been around 800 laboratory-confirmed cases reported annually in patients from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with an estimated 2000 to 3000 cases a year in total, (this includes cases that are diagnosed without the need for laboratory tests and cases that are so mild that people do not feel the need to consult a doctor).
The majority of Lyme disease cases reported in the UK are acquired here rather than overseas, often through recreational activities including walking, trekking and mountain-biking. Areas where the infection has been acquired in the UK include popular holiday destinations such as Exmoor, the New Forest, the South Downs, parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire, Thetford Forest, the Lake District, the Yorkshire moors and the Scottish Highlands. Most cases are reported as coming from the southern counties of England, especially from the south-east and south-west.
Ticks are very small (about the size of a poppy seed), and can easily be overlooked, so it is important to check regularly. Most ticks do not carry the infection. If one is found it should be removed promptly, as infected ticks are unlikely to transmit the organism if they are removed in the early stages of attachment. Ticks can be removed with tweezers or special tick hooks, pulling gently upwards away from the skin.
To minimise the risk of being bitten by an infected tick:
Wear appropriate clothing in tick-infested areas (a long sleeved shirt and long trousers tucked into socks). Light coloured fabrics are useful, as it is easier to see ticks against a light background
Consider using insect repellents, e.g. DEET-containing preparations,
Inspect skin frequently and remove any attached ticks
At the end of the day, check again thoroughly for ticks, especially in skin folds
Make sure that children's head and neck areas, including scalps, are properly checked
Check that ticks are not brought home on clothes
Check that pets do not bring ticks into the home on their fur
Notes for editorsFor further information please contact the HPA Centre for Infections press office on 020 8327 7097/6217/7080For further information about the symptoms of Lyme borreliosis and tick bite prevention visit our website: http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/LymeDisease/Lyme disease leaflets produced in conjunction with The Royal Parks are available at: http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1271256716650Lyme disease figures are available athttp://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/LymeDisease/EpidemiologicalData/
Members of the public should seek advice about their specific travel health needs from their GP or local travel clinic.
' Further improvements in diagnostic tests would be welcomed.'
Is that someone acknowledging tests can miss cases of Lyme Disease? Trinity Biotech the makers of the test kits used in the UK acknowledges that a negative test does not rule out the possibility of Lyme Disease. So why are doctors led to believe it does?
'More research is required to assess the causes and management of post-Lyme symptoms.'
well yes saying is not doing, sadly and meanwhile can we be treated on our response whilst the science is still evolving?