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Lyme Disease In The UK: Why Is It On The Rise This Summer?

Friday 28 June 2019


From UK newspaper The Telegraph:


Lyme Disease tick
(Credit: James Gathany/AP)

Lyme disease: why is it on the rise this summer?

By Tomé Morrissy-Swan
27 June 2019
© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2019.

There are many threats posed by climate change – rising seas, melting ice caps, bleached coral reefs. But there's another that we're just beginning to come to terms with: the rise of Lyme disease.

In England and Wales reported cases rose from 268 to 959 between 2001 and 2011, while current government estimates put the number at 2,000-3,000 new instances annually. According to Public Health England, infections rose by up to 35 per cent between 2016 and 2017, with a surge in southeastern areas such as Kent, Sussex and Essex.

The infectious disease is caused by a bacterium spread by ticks. Once thought to be confined to remote areas, such as the Scottish Highlands, ticks are becoming increasingly common, with an upsurge in sightings in city parks, according to Howard Carter, a bite protection expert.

Global warming is thought to be behind the growing tick population, because warmer temperatures are creating more suitable habitats for the arachnids to thrive. One report from 2018, in the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, linked tick populations to the climate, stating: "both tick activity and survival depend on temperature and humidity."

The majority of tick bites are harmless but, when untreated, Lyme disease can lead to severe complications, including arthritis and neurological and heart problems. Meningitis is also a possible outcome, as is chronic fatigue syndrome.


Full article…



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