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.
We will be highlighting that tick-borne infections exist in animals in the UK for which there are no accredited human tests at the two main UK laboratories. Instead of continuing to argue that tick-borne infections are rare or do not exist within the UK or do not result in human illness, we need a real assessment of the 'burden of disease' of these tick-borne infections in human and animal populations.
We will be asking for research to be conducted into the prevalence of all infections in ticks, the prevalence of those infections in humans and animals, the burden of human illness from those infections and impact of polymicrobial illness, treatment options for persistent infections, and use of non-pharmaceutical interventions to support recovery.
The UK needs much more research funding to address the paucity of data on tick-borne diseases, and to embrace the research emanating from the USA demonstrating persistent infection and ways of addressing it. We need an evolving openly documented multi-agency National Plan to Combat Tick-borne Diseases to ensure that all aspects of prevention, tick control, testing, diagnosis and treatment are fully addressed, and we need specialist UK treatment centres specifically addressing tick-borne illnesses and issues of persistent infection when treatment is delayed, thus avoiding lumping patients into the unhelpful category of ‘Medically Unexplained Symptoms’.
It is time for the UK to embrace the current research on Lyme disease and find a solution for the many patients who are chronically infected after a tick-bite.