I blogged some time ago about the growing threat—propelled by climate change—posed by Lyme’s disease, the tick borne disease which can have very serious impacts on human health. A UK government review has looked at the issue, and the various bodies concerned with our health (e.g. NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have made various statements about how to approach this growing problem. I am prompted to write about it again following a further report of the disease’s spread. What I have read doesn’t fill me with confidence that the threat is as yet being taken seriously. I suspect as far as GPs are concerned, the guidance on the subject will just form part of the avalanche of guidance they receive every week. The disease is still (relatively) rare, so misdiagnosis is it seems routine.
It’s the sort of thing that makes you wish the star golf player Trump could hit a few more balls into the long grass. But perhaps when he does, he sends a flunkey to retrieve them. In the States, he would be well advised to, I get the impression that the spread of the tick is spreading much faster there than it is here. I think it will be fascinating to track the development of this issue. It may well impact most on the healthier types first—that is, people who get out into the countryside. Ramblers, cross country cyclists, campers and the like. Those whose only outdoor experience is a car trip to the shopping mall will be least affected. Anyway, let’s not get too depressed. Here’s what to look out for:
‘More serious symptoms may develop several weeks, months or even years later, if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early on. These can include:
· pain and swelling in the joints (inflammatory arthritis)
· problems affecting the nervous system – such as numbness and pain in your limbs, paralysis of your facial muscles, memory problems and difficulty concentrating
· heart problems – such as myocarditis, pericarditis, heart block and heart failure
· meningitis – which can cause a severe headache, a stiff neck and increased sensitivity to light’ (from the NHS here
None of these things you would normally associate with climate change. There you go. Now what was it about the spread of malaria carrying mosquitos?