Lyme Disease in the Peak District
We have received the email below from the Peak National Park. Dark Peakers should take note as Lyme Disease can be very unpleasant:
Two confirmed and one unconfirmed case of Lyme disease have been reported
in the Peak District. I have spoken to one the two men who contracted the
disease, so this is not an urban myth. As far as I am aware, this is the
first time this potentially-fatal illness has been reported in our area.
The details are:
On 29.9.06., during an exercise, a member of the Glossop Mountain Rescue
team was bitten on the lower leg though a pair of Ron Hill tracksters.
This was at Deer Knoll on the northern edge of Bleaklow. He thought he'd
suffered a midge bite and only went to his doctor after the bite got
worse. He told me that it developed as a red, blind spot surrounded by a
ring of clear skin surrounded by an inflamed area, which eventually grew
to 5" or so in diameter. After about 10 days he had also developed severe
joint pains and after blood tests he was put on what sounds like a
tetracycline drug. He says it will be 3 years before he can be sure he is
free of the infection. He said, "Don't believe what they say about
'flu-like symptoms' being the first sign."
Another member of the MRT was bitten in June 2006 - also through a thin
garment - while walking through rough scrub near Crowden. His bite
developed in the same way but the symptoms in his case were extreme
lethargy/tiredness but no joint pain. I did not ask, but I assume the
second man had similar treatment but this did not happen immediately
because his doctor thought he had an allergy until he learnt from the
patient about his colleague's experience.
The details of the illness are:
Lyme disease (the bacteria Borrelia Burghdor feri) is spread by animal
ticks, particularly deer ticks. Other wild animals may also carry the
ticks, which are found in scrub, long grass, bracken or other vegetation
frequented by infected animals. Not all ticks carry the bacteria. The
risk of infection can be reduced by wearing long trousers and long sleeved
shirts when working in tall vegetation during May-June or
September-October. Tuck trousers into socks if necessary. Light coloured
clothing will make ticks more noticeable so that they can be brushed off.
Insect repellent sprays can help.
The range of symptoms includes partial paralysis of the face (Bells Palsy)
and serious illness of the nervous system, joints and heart. Flu-like
symptoms may develop, as may swollen glands near the site of the bite,
mild headaches, aching muscles and joints, and tiredness.
Although the highest risk is during the summer when the tick is most
active and feeding, there is some research showing that in certain areas,
ticks can be active all year round.
Remove the tick as soon as possible by grasping it close to the skin with
a pair of tweezers. Apply gentle pressure, twist anti-clockwise and pull
upwards. Pull slowly and consistently until it lets go. Do not squeeze
the body of the tick or attempt to remove with burning or chemicals. If
the tick is accidentally pulled apart and the head remains in the skin,
there may be a risk of infection from other microscopic organisms. This
kind of infection is not related to Lyme Disease but can still be
Retain the tick in a sealed contain in case you develop symptoms later.
The bite might show itself as an expanding reddish, round rash in the area
of the bite. This will usually develop within 3 to 30 days of a bite.
Consult a doctor as soon as you believe you are infected and advise him or
her the a Lyme Disease infection is possible.