Travel Advice: Lyme disease is on the rise

When outdoors take preventative measures against Lyme disease, spread by ticks

Lyme disease is on the rise in Europe and I have heard recently of two golfers who contracted it in Portugal. Lyme disease, or Borreliosis, is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an ixodid tick. Ticks are blood-sucking arachnids, from the spider family, that feed on animals. They acquire the disease from their hosts and then pass it on to the next animal or human they feed on. Not all ticks are infected with Borrelia.

Lyme disease has a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Known as the “Great Imitator”, it can mimic other diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Early treatment is vital to prevent serious complications.

Ticks are prevalent in many of the places we love to travel to. If you are going to be on golf courses, in forests, long grass, or rough vegetation wear long trousers tucked into your socks if possible. A repellent with Deet can be sprayed around trouser cuffs and clothes with a shiny surface can stop ticks clinging on.

After a trips outdoors check yourself and family members, particularly children, for signs of ticks. Look in tucked-away places such as in the hair, behind the ears, in the groin area and at the back of the knees. If you can, shower on your return and place clothes in a hot dryer to kill any remaining ticks.

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For more information see ticktalkireland.org.

jscales@irishtimes.com.