Justin Bieber has revealed that he is suffering from Lyme disease (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-51041033). His announcement comes in the wake of a number of developments that are changing attitudes towards tick-borne diseases in the US. Lyme disease is six times more prevalent than HIV, yet until now the Lyme budget of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been less than 1% that of HIV.
The Telegraph reports on a deadly new tick-borne virus. It is not present in the UK, but it is spreading rapidly throughout Asia.
The new virus – severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) – is spread by tick bites, has a fatality rate around 30 per cent, no effective treatment, and should be treated as a biosafety level three pathogen, on a par with diseases such as Ebola.
On Friday 22nd November, a representative from Lyme Resource Centre attended a meeting in Liverpool hosted by the National Institute for Health Research and involving Public Health England, Liverpool University Institute of Infection and Global Health, and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. It also included sessions lead by representatives of the Scottish Lyme Disease and Tick-borne Infections Reference Laboratory (SLDTRL) based at Raigmore Hospital and the Health Protection Scotland Lyme Disease sub-group.
Wednesday 20th November 2019
Lyme Resource Centre will be urging the authorities to step up their efforts to address tick-borne diseases at a workshop, "Lyme and tick-borne disease research in the UK: addressing the scientific uncertainties", to be held at the National Institute for Health Research on 22nd November 2019. We will be providing evidence of persistent Lyme disease infection and calling for acknowledgement of the complexities of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
How one foundation assumed leadership in the fight against a fast growing health threat.
"It was 18 increasingly unpleasant months between Alex Cohen’s first symptom—a pain in the sole of her foot—and her diagnosis of Lyme disease. Along the way, she was told she had everything from lupus, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis to mercury poisoning from her fillings. 'I had none of the above,' she said. 'Finally, I met this doctor in New York who treated me for Lyme, and it was a new day.' That was about 12 years ago, but it wasn't the end of her journey with Lyme disease."
Public Health England have announced that Tick-borne encephalitis virus has been detected in ticks in the UK for the first time.
"Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) has been detected for the first time in ticks in the UK. The findings are part of ongoing research by Public Health England (PHE) and the Emerging and Zoonotic Infections National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit at the University of Liverpool."
The views represented at the Science Media Centre briefing on 9th October and reported on in an article in the BMJ are one extreme of a diverse range of views on Lyme disease. However, there is an ever-increasing body of science showing that Lyme disease is not rare, that the tests are unreliable, that chronic illness is common, and that it involves more than 'residual symptoms' and can be life-threatening.
"Fiona Stalker travels around Scotland to investigate the spread of Lyme disease. One tiny tick under the skin can cause chronic illness but GPs are often slow to diagnose and to give treatment. Fiona hears from sufferers who feel let down by the health service and asks what more can be done to combat this debilitating disease."
Tick-bites can lead to long term illnesses.
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and as ticks are most active from spring to autumn, it pays to know how to tackle them.