What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia, a spirochete bacteria. It’s the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the northern hemisphere
and there are multiple strains of the bacteria. Lyme disease is endemic in many parts of the United Kingdom, particularly in woodland or heath-land areas but disease carrying ticks can also be found in cities and gardens. Transmission of Lyme disease can occur when bitten by an infected tick. Other modes of transmission including congential transmission from mother to baby. Although Borrelia has been found in biting insects such as mosquitoes and spiders, there is not yet enough research to prove that the disease can be transmitted via them.
It's important to act quickly if you believe you have been bitten by a tick as it's usually easier to treat if diagnosed early. Ticks range in size and can be as small as a poppy seed which means it can be easy to miss a tick bite at the time.
In some cases, transmission can occur from mother to baby (congenital transmission)
as well as being linked to blood transfusions.
Until more is known, it would be wise for Lyme patients past and present, to avoid donating their blood or tissue and we aim to continue raising the issue with the Department of Health.