Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Estimating Lyme disease risk using pet dogs as sentinels.

Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Jan 16. [Epub ahead of print]

Estimating Lyme disease risk using pet dogs as sentinels.


School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, UK.


The reported number of cases of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, is thought to have increased in the UK over the past decade, but consistent surveillance data are lacking. Here the prevalence of B. burgdorferi in ticks attached to pet dogs was examined - using them as sentinels for human disease risk. Dogs give a good indication of the exposure of their human owners to infected ticks, since they largely share the same environment and visit the same outdoor areas. PCR was used to test 739 tick samples collected from 3534 dogs selected at random as they visited veterinary practices over a period of six months. Overall, the prevalence of infected ticks on all dogs was 0.5% giving an estimated 481 infected ticks per 100,000 dogs. The data suggest that the prevalence of Borrelia in the UK tick population is considerably higher than most recent estimates indicate.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Full article can be accessed here  

Excellent to see this published and lets hope it opens the door to much 
needed research here in the UK on not just Lyme Disease but other tick borne 

Faith Smith presented the earlier stages of her research at Lyme Disease Action conference in 2010 

Lyme Disease Action discussing this research with a link to an earlier video interview 
with Faith here 

BBC discusses the research here 

'A spokeswoman from the Health Protection Agency said it was important that people realise the risks and remain "tick aware".
"They are out there in woodland areas." She said it was best to keep to footpaths and avoid long grass where possible when out walking and to cover up the skin.
Also, brush off clothes and pet's coats before returning indoors to remove any unattached ticks that might later seek a feed.'

So how come Doctors are still saying to patients no that can't be Lyme Disease we don't have Lyme Disease here in the UK?


  1. "So how come Doctors are still saying to patients no that can't be Lyme Disease we don't have Lyme Disease here in the UK?"

    I've heard the same sort of statement made by doctors here in the US, just substitute a different state or region for "UK".

    i think the doctors need to be better educated worldwide. And it should be broadcast far and wide that birds carry these ticks to different locations - not just dogs - thus spreading the areas in which they are found.

    If doctors just kept tickborne diseases in mind for any differential diagnosis with overlapping symptoms and threw out the "it doesn't happen in ____" line, we'd all be much better off.

  2. And so say all of us - well those of us who have fund that our health problems are related to Lyme Disease or a tick bite- there must be so many people who do not realise that is the cause of their health problems or that there is treatment that can help them.

    As always though the media is slow to run with this - what fools - this must be the biggest medical controversy ever - they could make such a difference to help raise awareness and help prevent people from ending up with chronic health problems by being proactive in the early stages or even by avoiding being bitten in the first place.