For immediate release:
Tick-borne Illness Campaign Scotland is working with Dr. Jack Lambert, a senior infectious diseases consultant, to establish a Lyme Disease Resource Centre in Fife. Plans are in place to purchase a building to be used as a resource and training centre with private medical consulting rooms. The Lyme Disease Resource Centre will provide a national resource for organisations fighting Lyme and tick-borne diseases, and provide employment in an area which has recently suffered job losses.
Early symptoms of Lyme Disease include a bulls-eye rash and flu-like symptoms. If the disease is caught early, patients recover with standard treatment. However, 10 to 20% of patients go on to develop a debilitating chronic condition. Currently, many patients are then abandoned without further help, left to seek private help or self-medicate. Recent research has shown that Lyme Disease bacteria form dormant ‘persister’ cells, which are known to evade antibiotics. Treatment protocols needs to be modified to address the complexity of such chronic infection. The Lyme Disease Resource Centre will provide up-to-date information and resources to help organisations involved in tick control and medical care, particularly addressing the needs of those with chronic illness.
On average, 5% of ticks in Scotland are infected with Lyme disease. The number of Scottish cases of Lyme Disease in humans has increased from fewer than 30 new cases per year in 1996 to around 220 in 2015. However, GPs estimate that only 20-40% of cases are referred, and so the numbers are likely to be much higher.
Tests of donated blood have concluded that 4.2% of Scottish blood donors (over 225,000 people) have been infected. The number of infected people is likely to be higher as those who are ill are less likely to give blood. Not everyone who is infected has current symptoms.
"Lyme disease represents a growing public health threat. Recent molecular and genetic studies have confirmed that Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochetal agent of Lyme disease, is one of the most complex bacteria known to man." - Stricker R.B., Lautin A., Burrascano J.J. in 'Lyme disease: the quest for magic bullets', Chemotherapy, 2006.
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