Wednesday, 11 August 2010

PUBLIC HEALTH RISKS OF LYME DISEASE IN UK

THE PUBLIC HEALTH RISKS OF LYME DISEASE IN
BRECKLAND, U.K.: AN INVESTIGATION OF
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL FACTORS

TRACEY V. MAWBY* and ANDREW A. LOVETT

School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, U.K.
Abstract This paper considers the public health risks of Lyme disease, a borrelial infection transmitted to humans chiefly by nymphal Ixodes ticks. A study undertaken in the Breckland area of East Anglia, U.K., combined analysis of the spatial and temporal factors affecting tick activity at recreational sites with a survey of current levels of disease awareness among visitors to these locations. Significant re- lationships were found between densities of questing ticks and vegetation type, relative humidity and temperature. More than two thirds of the general public visiting the sites were aware ticks could carry diseases, but only 13% recognized an unfed nymph, and under half knew that Lyme disease could be contracted from tick bites. Such results need to be taken into account when formulating public health and education measures. # 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved
Key words Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, Ixodes ricinus, Breckland, risk assessment

The full article can be accessed here

Thank you anonymous for your comment on my last post and I suspect for the link into the above research posted today on Eurolyme.

It is a disgrace that as you say so much research has already been done for many years into ticks their location and habitat and the public's risk and perceived risk. I was aware that there was research being done with my local University Surrey, Oxford University and the Forestry Commission on risks and perceived risks. I was rather surprised when I heard of this that money and time was being spent on such research and yet trying to get local bodies and organisations to publicise the risks is such an up hill battle. Having been in touch with 23 people suffering from Chronic Lyme Disease in my locality in and around Guildford.

I saw 5 doctors and 3 rheumatologists, attending surgery with bites, bulls eye rashes summer flu' and migrating arthralgias all red flags for Lyme although it took four years and a chance course of antibiotics given for a sinus chest infection which significantly improved my symptoms and led my then GP to suspect Lyme Disease. By then other cases had presented in the early stages and been confirmed with NHS positive tests.

I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, Arthritis, Muscle weakness, Musculo skeletal disease, Polymyalgia Rheumatica and eventually Lyme disease. It was only on long term antibiotics for Lyme Disease as per Burrascano Guidelines that I started to recover and now am nearly 100%, with no pain, no disability and can garden and cycle again.

I was aware of Lyme Disease but had always thought it to be something unique to the USA. I even have a second cousin who was involved in the research in the early 1980's something to do with being in charge of the blood banks at that time. He later moved into a different field and became Chief of one of the National Institutes of Health although now retired. I contacted him to see if he could help me find a specialist in the UK to assess my condition, I had no reply now I understand why. However he did say to my father that he was not at all surprised to hear that it was Lyme Disease from my description, that the blood tests were not reliable being antigen tests(something most doctors would realise if they thought for themselves)and that he was not surprised to hear long term antibiotics were helping.

The more you get involved with reading the research and talking to doctors the more you realise there is so much more known but hushed up about Lyme Disease.

I had actually asked one doctor about my migrating arthralgias if it could be due to an insect bite the answer a firm no.

Sometimes thinking about the denial and the wasted years of my life which could have been avoided with just more awareness can make me feel a little bitter but what really concerns me is the hundreds if not thousands of people who are in the same situation many of whom will not even realise their health problems are due to a tiny tick bite.

The biggest disgrace is that in not publicising awareness so that people can protect themselves and seek early medical attention they put our children at risk, that is unforgivable.

As Anonymous said 'One wonders why those who were working on ticks for decades at the University of Oxford did not have the decency to warn the UK, her government and people, about the many pathogens that ticks carry. Shame on them, and all those who oversaw their work. What honours and medals they have gained, while all the time staying tight-lipped and aloof from the scourge wreaked upon the ordinary folk. Scientists have studied ticks and the viral and bacterial diseases they carry, at Oxford and other UK labs, since the 1940s at least. May their god forgive them, because I cannot, not when I think of the agony and despair caused by this Lyme disease, and whatever else is in the mixture.'

How do they sleep at night? Knowing the risks and dangers and not raising public awareness.

Statistics are just that, if you happen to be that one person infected and suffering serious health problems it doesn't matter what the statistical chances of being bitten and infected are you need help and medical attention.

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