Thursday, 12 April 2012


Guildford is a delightful town, the County town of Surrey UK. It is situated in a gap in the north Downs and is surrounded by beautiful countryside which is enjoyed by  many - walkers, dog walkers and cyclists.

The University of Surrey was involved in research with the Forestry Commission and Oxford University into 'Assessing and Communicating Animal Disease risks for countryside users.' here 


Management of zoonotic disease is necessary if countryside users are to gain benefit rather than suffer harm from their activities, and to avoid disproportionate reaction to novel threats. We introduce a conceptual framework based on the pressure-state-response model with five broad responses to disease incidence. Influencing public behaviour is one response and requires risk communication based on an integration of knowledge about the disease with an understanding of how publics respond to precautionary advice. A second framework emphasizes how risk communication involves more than information provision and should address dimensions including points-of-intervention over time, place and audience. The frameworks are developed by reference to tick-borne Lyme borreliosis (also known as Lyme disease), for which informed precautionary behaviour is particularly relevant. Interventions to influence behaviour can be directed by knowledge of spatial and temporal variation of tick abundance, what constitutes risky behaviour, how people respond to information of varying content, and an understanding of the social practices related to countryside use. The frameworks clarify the response options and help identify who is responsible for risk communication. These aspects are not consistently understood, and may result in an underestimation of the role of land-based organizations in facilitating appropriate precautionary behaviour.

David Uzell was the team member from the Psychology dept at University of Surrey, Guildford. This is a pdf from that research 

'Making sense of unfamiliar risks in the countryside: the case of Lyme
Afrodita Marcu, David Uzzell, and Julie Barnetta

'These results suggest that policy makers and countryside authorities should not shy away from providing information on possible health risks as it is unlikely that this would act as a barrier against countryside use.'

Thank you David Uzzell, here is hoping that in time this will encourage organisations to take a proactive approach to warning the public of the possibilities of tick borne diseases.

My immediate concern is for people visiting Guildford because there is a growing number of ticks in this area and a growing incidence of cases of Lyme Disease.

I have spoken to people with Lyme Disease who have been infected from tick bites in their gardens, Woodland, Downland and along the River Wey. 

Several cases of Lyme Disease have been diagnosed in Merrow,  myself and 3 others within 200meters of my house, all our gardens side onto woodland, the other side of this woodland Pheasants ( competent hosts for Borrelia, Lyme Disease) are bred in Clandon Park. The woods and our gardens have ample hosts to feed the nymphal ticks before the ticks seek out their preferred host a deer, also found in abundance. 

Thankfully local doctors surgeries are becoming aware and hopefully more cases will be treated in the early stages and prevent others from suffering years of a chronic illness because the doctors missed those early signs of bites, rashes, summer flu' and migrating arthralgias. 

I have recovered on long term antibiotics. 

How many patients living around the Guildford area suffer from symptoms of Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, Arthritis, Muscle weakness, Musculo skeletal Disease, Polymyalgia Rheumatica not to mention so many other health problems, heart block, neurological problems, psychiatric problems and have never been properly assessed to see if it could be caused by Lyme Disease. With 50% not seeing the tick as the smallest is the size of a poppy seed, 40% don't get the Bulls eye rash, and blood tests can miss 50% of cases it is so important to raise awareness.

Sadly at present patients are the ones who drive awareness campaigns and not the Authorites. Guildford Borough do now have something on their website to warn people but not many of us would think to check their website  if we do not know Lyme Disease can be caught from tick bites in the Guildford area. here 


  1. I really hope Guildford will do more to step up to the plate and take an active stance out in public parks to let people know ticks which transmit Lyme disease could be present and how to protect themselves.

    Here in the US a number of public parks have "Warning: Beyond This Area Are Ticks Known To Cause Lyme Disease" signs, and at kiosks near the entrance to trails there are often informational bulletins about Lyme disease and how to reduce your chances of getting bitten by ticks. They're tacked up alongside a trail map and other information about the park. I think every such park in the world should have such information readily accessible.

    The problem has been in some towns, city councils are afraid if they put such signs up, tourists and residents will stay away. They won't want to use the parks. There have also been people who don't want to let others know that ticks may be a problem in their area and think property values will decline if it's made known.

    Such an attitude that puts property values above protecting public health is unconscionable, and given just how widespread tickborne diseases are becoming worldwide, I think more communities need to step up and acknowledge the problem. There is a way to do so, too, that doesn't encourage people to be overly afraid of entering parks and gives them a better sense of control. Without knowledge, how can people hope to protect themselves?

  2. Am I seeing things, or was there a comment here in response to mine that has gone missing? Just checking.

    1. Hi Camp Sorry for the delay in responding. Yes I did remove one of my comments and didn't get round to re wording.
      Basically there is a little going on locally which is helping raise awareness but so much more that is needed. I messaged you direct through Lymenet Europe.

  3. Heya¡­my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note. . It is great stuff indeed. I also wanted to there a way to subscribe to your site via email?

    University of Surrey

    1. Hi ucas Sorry I forgot to reply and no I don't think you can subscribe by e mail unless you connect through network blogs or have a google feed.

  4. Thanks for sharing excellent information. Your website is very cool. This website has got really useful info on it!

  5. Alister thanks for posting I don't as a rule allow comments that link to advertising and I see your name links to chiropactises in Surrey. However in this instances I think there is mutual benefits I have no doubt that many chiropractitioners in Surrey will treat patients with Lyme Arthritis in fact a fellow patient I know says her Chiropactitioner sees two patients with Lyme Arthritis.

    The problem if you read my blog is that mainstream medicine is just not recognising the condition for what it is thus patients remain with a worsening condition that can so easily be improved on simple but long term antibiotics.

    It is nice to meet an open minded practitioner.