A Montrose woman who was diagnosed with Lyme disease after suffering debilitating symptoms for over a year is calling for the public to be aware of the danger of tick bites.
Lorraine Murray (44), from Littlewood Gardens in Montrose is warning anyone who receives a tick bite and experiences flu-like symptoms shortly afterwards to notify their doctor and get tested for Lyme Disease.
Lorraine said: “I received a bite from a tick in August 2014 while walking my dog at Kinnaber but thought nothing of it at the time.
“After experiencing terrible flu-like bouts shortly after the bite and then at monthly intervals alongside difficulty walking, nausea and chronic fatigue I began to search for a diagnosis.
“Over the past year I was tested for various viruses including Lupus and I saw hormone and thyroid specialists and private medical doctors to try to get to the bottom of my symptoms but nothing concrete ever showed up.
“The disease that I did not know I had was basically attacking my whole immune system.”
She added: “Dog walkers in this area often come across the tiny insects attached to their pets or to themselves but don’t realise that the flu that can follow within a couple of days, or the ‘bulls-eye’ rash that shows up after a bite in 50 per cent of cases may be Lyme Disease.
“People think that Lyme Disease is only present in the Highlands but it is here in Montrose.”
The disease is common in deer in this area, so the normal precautions of wearing long socks when walking through long grass and checking for the tiny ticks on return home are wise to follow. However, not all ticks carry the disease.
Many of the symptoms are sometimes put down to other diseases or conditions. It is only through the combination of finding a tick/bite/flu/possible rash that doctors can positively and clinically diagnose the disease.
The current test for Lyme Disease can be unreliable because other medicines and treatments can affect the test.
Lyme Disease is treated with a simple appropriate antibiotic which stops the bacteria affecting the body and stops the disease in its tracks.
Tayside is third after Highland and Greater Glasgow health authorities for Lyme Disease figures but anyone who walks regularly in the countryside should be vigilant.
Sheep can carry the deer ticks as well as dogs and if one is found it should be removed immediately using a pair of tweezers or a special tick remover taking care not to twist the tick or leave any part of it in the skin, keep the tick in a small container for future reference.For more information visit www.LymeDiseaseAction.org.uk