Lyme disease is more of a threat than the public appreciate

A new campaign to raise awareness about Lyme disease and tick bits is being spearheaded by Ray Mears, survivalist and TV presenter. He says there are not enough people that know about the disease as he spoke to kick off the tick bite prevention week. In the UK cases of Lyme disease are increasing with over 3,000 cases per year being reported says the Health Protection Agency.

The latest figures available show that Welsh residents accounted for 18 laboratory confirmed cases of the disease in 2009, the last year of available figures. In 2009 confirmed cases for England and Wales rose from 813 in 2008 to 973 in 2009 with over 80% of infections being contracted in the UK.

While outside in good weather you and your family need to be protected against tick bites in order to reduce your risk of Lyme disease. In rare cases the disease because chronic and there is not enough information known by people about the disease.

Infected Ixodid ticks cause the disease they bite someone and there are numerous high risk areas such as – woodland areas in the south and south western England, the Scottish Highlands and Islands, North York moors, Thetford Forest and the South Downs.

It is also very widespread in Europe from the southernmost Scandinavia countries to northern Spain and Portugal and east to many eastern and central European countries. Symptoms for Lyme disease and usually the only symptom is an ever so slow expanding pink and reddish rash called erythema migraines that usually moves outwards from the site of the tick bite and resembles a bullseye pattern.

Flu-like systems are also common such as muscle and joint pains and a fever. If it is not properly treated the disease can affect the nervous system where one can have facial palsy, viral meningitis and radiculitis, an inflammation that can lead to pain, clumsiness of movement and disturbance of sensation. The impact can be enormous on the individual and the family and it is imperative that as the weather gets warmer and we move outside it is important to be vigilant for the presence of the ticks.