HEALTH: Lyme Disease raised in Europe – by Cork MEP

3 July 2018
Elaine Murphy

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada raised the issue of Lyme Disease in the European Parliament this week.

The Ireland South MEP asked the Commission for an update on what work was being done at a European level to raise awareness of the condition.

“Lyme disease is the most common zoonotic disease in Europe,” she said.

“Due to it being a difficult disease to diagnose we can only estimate how many persons in Europe are infected by it.

“The estimated figures of persons infected stands at between 650,000 and 800,000.

“Infected ticks and the disease are expanding geographically, with even a huge increase in the number of cases being reported in Ireland. This increase in cases is suspected to be caused by climate change.

“Does the commission have any plans to work with Member States; both to exchange best practices but also to raise awareness of the disease in the form of an education campaign and can the commission comment any further on the actions being taken at a European level to address the rising levels of persons being infected?

“This would be useful as different Member States take different approaches. In Ireland, for example, one of the biggest issues is that Lyme is wrongly classified as a skin disease, which effects how it is treated.

“However, it is much more accurately described as a multi-organ inflammatory disorder or autoimmune disorder,.

“The EU should help provide clarity on this and work with Member States to raise awareness of the true nature of the condition.

“While Lyme Disease can be a very serious it remains thankfully rare. By raising awareness we can wipe it out. Small steps can help prevent infection while not impacting youre enjoyment of our parks and forests. We are all aware of the dangers the sun can pose if we don’t take proper precautions but we dont let that keep us out of it. Let’s take the same approach to ticks and Lyme Disease.”

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