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CLA urges greater awareness of ticks
By Newsroom
News  |  Thu - March 28, 2024 11:56 pm  |  Article Hits:779  |  A+ | a-
THE CLA (Country Land and Business Association) is urging greater awareness of ticks as they become more active during the spring and summer months. Ticks carry pathogens that cause infections, including Lyme disease, but, also more rarely, tick borne encephalitis.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has this week launched its annual tick awareness campaign to coincide with Tick Bite Prevention Week (24 March to 30 March 2024).

According to the Agency, there are around 1,500 laboratory confirmed cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year, with an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 additional cases per year based on clinical assessments.

Ticks live in many different outdoor environments, but they are particularly common in the countryside's grassy and wooded areas. Farmers and foresters, as well as those visiting the countryside taking part in activities such as:- hiking, cycling, or camping are at far greater risk of being bitten. Ticks are not just restricted to our rural areas but can also sometimes be found in urban gardens and parks.

In the UK, the most important tick species to human health is Ixodes ricinus, more commonly known as the sheep, castor bean or deer tick. This species can be found feeding on humans and is the principal vector of Lyme disease and other tick borne infections. On average, 4% of ticks are infected in England and Wales, though this range can fluctuate in different areas and across years.

If you become unwell (for example with a spreading circular rash, flu-like symptoms, nerve pain or a droop on one or both sides of the face) within a few weeks of being bitten by a tick, contact your GP or dial NHS 111 promptly. Not everyone will realize that they were bitten by a tick, so you may still develop Lyme disease.

Acting CLA Director North, Henk Geertsema, said:- "We encourage the public, and particularly people who live and work in the countryside, or those taking part in leisure activities to be more tick aware at this time of year. The diseases associated with tick bites can have a debilitating health impact, and prevention is always better than cure. Anecdotally, I have heard from farmers and foresters reporting an increase in the incidence of Lyme disease cases, so extra vigilance is required to avoid being bitten by ticks in the 1st instance. The UK Health Security Agency provides useful advice on tick bite prevention and tick removal."

Dr Jolyon Medlock, Head of Medical Entomology at UKHSA said:- "To protect yourself against tick bites when spending time outdoors during spring and summer months, you can stick to the paths and avoid dense vegetation. Wear clothing that covers your skin, perhaps lightly coloured so you can spot ticks on you and brush them off and consider using insect repellent."

Preventative measures...

The chance of acquiring a tick bite when enjoying outdoor activities can be reduced by:-
  •  Regularly checking clothing and exposed skin for ticks that might be crawling on you and brushing them off immediately.
  •  Walking on clearly defined paths to avoid brushing against vegetation where ticks may be present.
  •  Wearing light coloured clothing so that ticks crawling on clothing can be spotted and brushed off immediately.
  •  Using an insect repellent (for example DEET) that can repel ticks and prevent them from:- climbing onto clothing or attaching to skin (always follow the manufacturer's guidance)
  •  Wearing long trousers and long sleeved tops to reduce the direct exposure of ticks to your skin, making it more difficult for them to find a suitable area to attach,
  •  After spending time outside, check yourself, your clothing, your pets and others for ticks..

Safe tick removal...
  •  If you spot a tick, you must remove as soon as you see it using a tick removal tool or fine tipped tweezers.
  •  Fine tipped tweezers are different from regular tweezers that might be used to remove eyebrow hair. Fine tipped tweezers are very narrow and pointed at the tip and ensure that ticks are not squashed during removal.
  •  To remove a tick, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upwards slowly and firmly.
  •  You can remove ticks safely yourself or you can ask for assistance from others.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, and when to speak to a healthcare professional, please visit -NHS.UK

To see the latest information about UK Health Security Agency's tick awareness resources and how to take part in the Tick Surveillance Scheme, please click here.


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