If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news, you may be aware that Lyme disease is on the rise. A bacterial infection, which can be spread to humans via infected ticks, the condition was once both rarely diagnosed and rarely talked about. These days, however, it frequently makes headlines, with campaign groups on both sides of the Atlantic working to boost awareness.
A number of US celebrities have spoken publicly about their struggles with Lyme disease, including Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Kathleen Hanna and Alec Baldwin. Here in the UK, the former rugby international Matt Dawson needed heart surgery after contracting the disease from a tick in a London park.
While the condition remains relatively uncommon in the UK (there were 1,534 confirmed casesin 2017, compared to an estimated 329,000 each year in the USA), there has been a sharp riseover the last few years. What’s more, the reported figure, from Public Health England, only includes those diagnosed via a blood test, meaning it is very likely an underestimate. The NHS estimates the true number to be around 3,000, while some charities claim it could be much higher.
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