Wednesday, 14 July 2010


BBC NEWS York & North Yorkshire

Lyme disease threat to walkers on North York Moors

Walkers on the North York Moors are being warned to check their skin carefully after being out on the moors.
Ticks, from deer and sheep, infected with Lyme disease are said to pose a serious risk to health as Peter Lugg found out.

To watch the clip click here

Ticks can be found throughout the UK so it is important to be vigilant. It is easy to miss the sometimes poppy seed sized tick and not everyone gets the bulls eye rash. Not all ticks carry Lyme Disease, Borrelia, but ticks which feed off any small mammal such as rats, mice or birds etc., can carry a multitude of infections most of which are never even tested for. We can't exactly ask the tick if it picked up an infection in it's last feed and if so which infection. By the time we are really sick it is often too late to treat as an early stage infection and if that opportunity is missed then longer courses of treatment are sometimes needed to clear the infection according to the ILADS Guidelines.

It is good to see an increasing awareness in the media but so much more needs to be done. If only I had known 7 years ago that we could catch Lyme Disease in the UK, I had thought it unique to USA. If only the doctors I saw with bites, rashes , summer flu' like no other I had ever experienced, migrating arthralgias, not to mention the doctor I asked if it could be from an insect bite, who firmly said no with the shake of her head, if only they had known.

To think that all that arthritis pain and disability, muscle weakness, dysphargia, fatigue, peripheral neuropathies could have been avoided with more doctor and patient awareness. 6 1/2 years of chronic illness could have been avoided with just a few weeks antibiotics.

Shocking isn't it but what is more shocking is the children who suffer undiagnosed and untreated and they are the most vulnerable.

Thankfully there are a growing number of doctors here in the UK who are realising there is more to this controversy over Lyme treatment than they have been led to believe. Where I live in Guildford there are an increasing number of patients I am getting to know with Chronic Lyme Disease but also an increasing number of patients who are seeking and receiving early medical attention.

For more information look at UK charity website Lyme Disease Action

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