Lyme Disease Cases at All Time High
Figures from Public Health England show there were 1,112 cases of Lyme disease diagnosed in the UK in 2013. The number of cases of the tick-borne illness have quadrupled in the last 12 years, but scientists believe the figure may be even higher as tests for the infection are not always reliable.
There are five strains of the disease which affects 20,000 Americans every year, of which three are thought to be responsible for cases in Europe. Climate change, which has led to warmer winters, is thought to be one of the reasons for the steady increase in cases since 2001, when 268 people were diagnosed. Interest in the disease has also been sparked by a number of recent high profile cases including Phones4U founder John Caudwell and High School Musical Star Selena Gomez.
Stella Huyshe-Shires from pressure group Lyme Disease Action is concerned about a lack of awareness of the condition amongst medical professionals. “Ticks carrying Lyme disease are everywhere in the UK,” she said. “It is a relatively new disease in the UK and public and health professionals are insufficiently aware of it. Doctors are unaware that there are genuine uncertainties in diagnosis and in treatment and often fail to diagnose and treat appropriately.”
A study carried out in September found ticks which could potentially carry the bacteria that causes the disease in Richmond Park and Bushy Park in South London.