Thank you The Guardian for a good article on ticks and Lyme Disease. There are a few inaccuracies and so much more to know about illnesses that can be passed on from a tick bite. The best resource would be Lyme Disease Action (LDA) and also Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness UK.(BADAUK)
L:DA are working with Public Health England and Porton Down the testing Laboratory - they have found many uncertainties in current guidance on Lyme Disease and PHE guidance is in a process of updating which could take a couple of years.
Meanwhile some of key features are
- to remove a tick with tick remover or fine nosed tweezers - any stress to tick can cause it to regurgitate it's stomach contents and thus cause greater burden of infections.
- the tiniest tick is the size of a poppy seed so we are not always aware of being bitten
- not everyone gets the bulls eye rash and it can be in a hidden place ie back or back of head/hairline is common with children
- testing is very poor sensitivity with ELISA missing more than 50% of cases and even second stage test is also not very sensitive Western Blot also misses many cases.
- essentially lyme is a clinical diagnosis but currently there is little expertise in this field in NHS
- many doctors miss the early opportunity to diagnose and many patients then go on to develop a long chronic illness often mis diagnosed as Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, Arthritis, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, and with neurological symptoms cases have been diagnosed with MS. Parkinson's,Motor Neurones, Alzheimer's and Autism spectrum disorder.
- any response to antibiotics good or bad ( Herxheimer reaction) should make you question if bacteria are underlying cause of condition.
Research on Lyme Disease and other tick borne illnesses is emerging at a rapid pace but until doctors are more knowledgeable about these stealth pathogens which can be associated with Chronic Illnesses it is important for the media to help raise public awareness so the public can protect themselves, learn and get appropriate medical help .