UK has become a receptacle of diseases, with Lyme taking the centre stage. Lyme cases are feared to be three times higher than was reported previously according to a new report.
UK could topple over with 8,000 recorded Lyme disease cases in 2019, compared with previous estimates of between 2,000 and 3,000 annual diagnoses.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, which is passed on through being bitten by an infected tick. The small spider-like creatures feed off the blood of animals and are typically found in dense, moist vegetation.
Lyme disease has many symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. Early symptoms can be similar to those of flu, and about a quarter of cases will develop a circular red rash around the bite. Full clinical diagnosis requires a blood test, but the study found that more than half of patients in 2012, the most recent year with complete data, were treated with only “suspected” or “possible” Lyme disease.
The research found that half of cases occurred between June and August. Although there were diagnoses across all regions of the UK during the period studied, Scotland had the highest number of cases, at 27% of the total. The south-west and south of England also recorded a higher than average number of cases. The data showed that the number of diagnoses increased almost tenfold over the period studied. This, the researchers said, was partly down to increased caution by GPs and greater public awareness. “The exact number isn’t so important,” said Dr Victoria Cairns, the lead author of the study. “The point is that it’s a lot, and it’s everywhere, and that’s why people should be informed.”