Warning as ticks carry disease south

Excerpted from  Scotland on Sunday ( Posted: 03/13/2011 ) 

DOCTORS are warning that debilitating tick-borne Lyme disease appears to be moving from its traditional Highland heartlands and spiralling in other parts of the country.
A public health investigation revealed that cases of the infection had soared in Tayside over the last five years.

The area has now been classified as a “hotspot” for the infection for the first time, with the spread prompting concern that tick infestation of the countryside is moving south 

The doctors who carried out the investigation have urged visitors to the area to take precautions against tick bites. Campaigners warned all Scots to be vigilant, saying the parasites are a disease risk everywhere, from remote moorland to urban gardens.

The Scottish Highlands have long been known as a problem area for blood-sucking ticks (pictured right), which lurk in long grass and attach themselves to animals and humans. The ticks – which cling on to their host as they feed, are difficult to spot and to remove. A bite carries the risk of infection with Lyme disease – officially known as Lyme borreliosis – which can cause serious neurological and heart problems.

But the investigation by the public health team from Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and Raigmore Hospital in Inverness – published in the Journal Of The Royal College Of Physicians Edinburgh – has revealed a “significant” rise in cases of Lyme disease in Tayside. Cases in the area, which are thought to have originated in the region’s large forested areas, rose from just five in 2005 to 67 in 2010.

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~ by Rob on March 13, 2011.

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