Members of the Facebook Group, Tick Talk Ireland are making a call to the Health Protection Agency to make a notifiable illness. Our reason for this recommendation is that there is little support and knowledge available to Lyme disease patients. Some people have been infected overseas and some have been infected here in Ireland. The overwhelming response from talking to these patients is that there is little recognition among the medical community, on the best way to diagnose and treat the disease. This leaves many patients having to seek advice by private means, often abroad which places an additional burden on people who already ill.
Due to the large farming community found in Ireland and also the attraction of Ireland’s beautiful land and seascapes to overseas visitors, we need to do more to raise awareness and protection. By making Lyme disease notifiable we could be placing greater importance on quicker and more reliable diagnosis amongst the medical population and help prevent an ever deepening health and financial (due to ill health) crisis.
What is Lyme Disease? Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness transmitted through the bite of a tick. Symptoms in the early stages of the disease can include a bulls eye rash, flu-symptoms and a fever. If you notice these symptoms go to your GP without delay and explain that you were bitten by a tick. Some patients may remain asymptomatic and carry the disease for a number of years symptom free. However late stage Lyme disease can crop up years later with debilitating symptoms, including profound fatigue, tremours, weakness, dizziness, nausea, joint & muscle pain, sore throats, tingling, brain fog and headaches. The symptoms greatly mimic those of ME, MS & Parkinson’s Disease.
The best form of treatment is through antibiotics. The longer you have been infected the harder it is to eradicate. This is why we are calling for quicker recognition and treatment of the disease.
**Update September 2009:
Thank you to all those who signed our petition:
The petition was submitted to the Minister of Health 2nd September 2009. I have also submitted to Ms Harney results of our survey – a summary of these results can be obtained at the following link. The reply from the Minister of Health of 10th September is also posted in the link below!
Results of Survey
The survey is still open and we will continue to review answers as they come in (details below!)
*Try out our New Lyme Disease Survey in Ireland
(All replies are anonymous and no contact details are required)
To qualify you must be a Lyme sufferer who is:
* Living in Ireland – infected by Lyme here or abroad or
* Not living in Ireland – but infected within Irish Counties
Lyme Disease Survey in Ireland
Thank you for visiting us at Tick Talk Ireland!
**Update April 2011:
Tick Talk Ireland submitted a letter of inquiry to the new Minister of Health, Dr James Reilly, regarding making Lyme a notifiable illness in the new government. Please find below his reply:
4th April 2011:
The Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, T.D., has asked me to thank you
for your recent letter concerning the notifiable status of Lyme Disease.
The Minister has asked me to inform you that as part of a review of
Infectious Diseases Regulations being undertaken in the Department, it is
proposed that Lyme Disease will be included as a notifiable infectious
disease under proposed new legislation.
This is excellent news as A. Lyme is a serious threat to the health of members of the public, their pets & their children as well as to forestry & outdoor works & B. more sufficient monitoring can take place of cases across Ireland showing truer numbers reported by GP’s rather than numbers reported by labs.
Using Lab results for some conditions can be very useful for tracking disease, however Lyme is different in that it can take several weeks for Lyme antibodies to show up in tests & in late Lyme a depleted immune system can mean false negative results.
It is estimated in the US that numbers being reported by labs should be multiplied 10 times to get a more accurate number of Lyme cases. We hope that through the input of GP’s & consultants that more accurate reporting can therefore take place, at least until more sensitive testing is made available.
This test in the EU is currently under development 🙂
The aim of HILYSENS is to develop a novel lab-on-chip diagnostic tool to improve clinical diagnostic, disease monitoring and treatment of Lyme Disease by enabling specific and sensitive detection of the human serological response against its causative agent: Borrelia burgdoferi. Lyme Disease is the most common tick-borne infection in Europe with around 85,000 new cases per year and its incidence is increasing due to climate change. Current laboratory diagnostic methods lack sensitivity and specificity to detect early cases as well as late manifestations of the disease such as chronic or autoimmune-related infections. For this reasons, disease incidence is underestimated as many cases go mis- or undiagnosed. Late, delayed, or inadequate treatment can lead to serious symptoms such as neuroborreliosis or arthritis, which can be disabling and difficult to treat.
We will keep you posted as we hear more about the updated legislation xx