The Independent, April 3 (Lyme Disease)

April 10, 2007

From Dr Fred Kavalier's "Casebook"



We are spending our next holiday in the New Forest. We have been warned that the ticks there carry Lyme Disase. What can we do?

Lyme Disease is caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacteria that is transmitted by ticks. The disease starts off as a flu-like illness, and sometimes there is a circulalar rash aroound the site of the tick bite. The best way to prevent it is by protecting yourself against bites.

Use insect repellents and inspect yourself and your children very carefully every night. Tickers are very small – about the size of a poppy seed – and if you find any attached too the skin, gently grip them with tweezers near to the skin and steadily pull them out.

Ticks that are removed within  the first 24 hours do not transmit the bacteria. If you think you may have got infected, of if you develop any symptoms in the weeks and months after your holiday, see a doctor for a blood test. When it's treated early with antibiotics, Lyme Disease is easy to cure. If it's neglected, it can become much more stubborn.

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