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TV Scientist Tackles Ticks

6th March 2013

Photograph of TV Scientist Tackles Ticks

As the weather gets warmer, ticks become more active and are more likely to bite you and your pets?

Being out in the countryside or even town parks and gardens where wildlife is present may put you and your pets at risk from tick bites?

Around 3,000 people in the UK contract Lyme disease (Borreliosis) from a tick bite each year?

Recent research suggests that the prevalence of Lyme disease bacteria in the UK tick population is considerably higher than previously thought?

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Internationally renowned entomologist and Channel 4 ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ science presenter, Dr. James Logan, is leading the campaign to tackle tick-borne disease in the UK.

Tick-borne disease charity, Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness UK (BADA-UK) has teamed up with Dr. Logan to front the Charity’s annual awareness programme, Tick Bite Prevention Week (TBPW), which runs between 24th and 30th March 2013.

This year’s theme ‘Tackling Ticks’ will focus on promoting awareness about potential tick-borne disease risk to visitors of parks and other recreational spaces in certain urban areas, as well as the more obvious rural environment.

Although ticks are part of the natural environment, they are second only to mosquitoes in transmitting infectious diseases to humans and animals.

According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), around 3,000 people contract Lyme disease (Borreliosis) every year in the UK from infected tick bites, and experts say this number is increasing, whilst a recent study1 revealed the incidence of Lyme disease in the UK dog population is also much higher than previous thought.

As yet, there is no vaccine to prevent Lyme disease which, if left untreated, can result in serious and debilitating health complications in humans. Whilst for dogs and horses in particular, tick-borne diseases can prove fatal if not diagnosed and treated properly.

The Charity is making TBPW 2013 a national call to action for recreational landowners and parks authorities to adopt ‘best practice’ strategies that could significantly help to decrease the number of disease cases.

A key aims is to encourage the provision of clear guidance for public visitors, so they can take a few simple precautions against tick bites without any effects to their enjoyment of the outdoors.

“Getting outdoors is very important for our physical and mental wellbeing’ says BADA-UK founder and Chair Wendy Fox. “Parks are rightly considered safe and healthy environments and we want to encourage everyone to actively use them. However, it is important for people to be made aware that ticks may be present, and that there are some simple measures you can take to protect yourself and your pets against being bitten.”

Wendy knows better than most about the potential consequences of an infected tick bite. In 2001 she suffered a brain and spinal cord swelling caused by Lyme disease which ultimately left her paralysed from the waist down and visually impaired.

"My experience has not put me off enjoying the outdoors", says Wendy. "There are some fantastic recreational areas throughout the UK and I love to explore them".

TBPW 2013 is anchored by a ‘Tackling Ticks’ symposium, Chaired by Dr. James Logan and organised by BADA-UK in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The event takes place at the Manson Lecture Theatre at the School on the 9th April 2013.

Local authorities, and land-owning companies and organisations, are invited to attend to discover the latest research on tick bite prevention from a range of experts including the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Public Health England.

A podcast presented by Dr. Logan and best practice guidance are available from the dedicated Tick Bite Prevention Week website.

To help fund and raise awareness of its vital educational work in tick-borne disease prevention, BADA-UK is inviting walkers and dog owners to hold a sponsored ‘Walk- 'n' Wagathon’ during and beyond TBPW in aid of the Charity.

Details of all TBPW 2013 events and resources can be found at
www.tickbitepreventionweek.org

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