Thursday, 24 August 2017

Lyme disease - some resources

Lyme disease, first identified in the town of that name in Connecticut in the 1970s, is a bacterial infection spread by ticks.   Lyme disease is mainly found (according to Fit For Travel) in Europe, North America and temperate areas of Asia.  The ticks pick up the infection from infected animals, then get attached to humans, who they bite.   Being bitten is a risk in wooded areas, moors and heaths.

It has been in the news in the UK lately following reports that Matt Dawson contracted it, was misdiagnosed, and had to undergo heart surgery.

Here are some resources about it, that you could bring to the attention of clinical colleagues who might encounter it (although those clinicians are perhaps more likely to be GPs).

Fit For Travel - travel health information from NHS Scotland. 

NHS Choices -  this also lists areas of England and Scotland reported to have a high population of ticks, and information on how to remove one.

Public Health England - includes information about diagnosis, signs and epidemiology, as well as a Factsheet about tick bite risks and prevention of disease.  Under diagnosis and treatment there is a suggested referral pathway for patients.

Outside the UK, there is:


CDC  - a very comprehensive site.   This site also includes information about "Lyme carditis" .   

PubMed search for lyme carditis will also search for lyme myocarditis, another name.   Any search of the literature also ought to take into account that Lyme disease (or its causative agent Borrelia burgdorferi) can cause heart block, pericarditis and heart failure!

Patient support groups include Lyme Disease UK, and Lyme Disease Action.

(Links were checked on 6th February 2018)

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