Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tick Prevention Week 2013

This week is BADA-UK (Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Association)'s Tick Prevention Week 2013.  BADA does a lot of great work spreading awareness of ticks and the diseases they carry - including Lyme disease.

Ticks carry many other diseases too and I'm going to talk more about them later in the week.  I was also recently at a talk about the current reliability and specificity of testing for Lyme disease (it's not good!) so I'd like to get some information from that really interesting talk on here too.

For my first post today, which is actually Tuesday - I meant to post on Monday (but I fell asleep this afternoon), here is BADA's video about ticks.  In the video, Dr James Logan, an entomologist, explains how ticks can infect you; how you can prevent getting a tick bite when outdoors; and how to remove a tick safely and reduce the risk of disease transmission if you are bitten.

Lyme disease is on the increase around the world.  Ticks can live on deer, birds, squirrels, chipmunks and these wild animals carry them around the country.  They are now found not just in the countryside, but also in urban parks and in your own garden.  They get on domestic pets, who can also become infected; and they can quite adeptly attach to a human for a blood meal as well.  Knowing about ticks, how to avoid them, and what to do if you do find a tick is becoming more important as Lyme increases.  This illness can be treated much more efficiently if it is caught early.  In its disseminated stages when it is capable of affecting every organ and tissue in the body, it becomes much more difficult to treat.

Increasing awareness will help keep you safe and will hopefully prevent you every becoming severely ill with Lyme.  Please watch the video and share and help spread awareness of Tick-borne diseases.

Just to emphasise the point, here are some pretty horrible photos of infestations of ticks on various wild animals - as long as ticks have something to feed on, they can survive:

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