Local Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has called for greater awareness and recognition of Lyme Disease.
Deputy Murphy attended a rally outside Dáil Éireann on Wednesday when up to 200 people affected by Lyme Disease highlighted the condition, as well as what they contend is its lack of recognition by health and political authorities. A number of people from the Roscommon/Galway area attended the rally including Aisling Mugan from Ballintubber in County Roscommon.
The rally was organised by Tick Talk Ireland, which is the support group for those with Lyme Disease. Its formal name is Borreliosis, and it is a bacterial disease transmitted by the bite of ticks.
“I attended the rally in relation to Lyme Disease this week as it’s important to help generate more awareness around this disease. If not diagnosed, it can lead to very serious conditions, including serious neurological changes. In earlier stages, symptoms include joint pain, swollen glands and severe fatigue. There is a complete lack of recognition of this disease by the authorities in Ireland which has resulted in so many people having to go abroad to be diagnosed or get treatment.
“One of the County Roscommon people I met at the rally was Aisling Mugan from Ballintubber- she was bitten by a tick when walking in the Alps in 2009. After numerous wrong diagnoses, Lyme Disease was confirmed by a German clinic in 2016. I understand that pain was her primary symptom but she has also experienced neurological effects such as “brain fog” and the inability to walk straight. Aisling is just one of the people fighting to have Lyme disease recognised as a disease in Ireland.
“It is not acceptable that this horrendous disease has been disregarded by the medical profession and HSE and is not covered by any medical care,” said Deputy Murphy.
The Fianna Fáil TD also issued a note of warning to farmers and those in the agricultural industry. “If you are working on the farm or in forestry, try to avoid bare skin by wearing long-sleeved trousers, shirts, socks and use a DEET-based insect repellent. Other early symptoms include fever, headache and tiredness. If untreated, symptoms can progress to loss of the ability to move one or both sides of the face, joint pains and/or severe headaches with neck stiffness. Avoid tick bites but if you are bitten, get it checked out by your GP. Also, if you have symptoms you can’t explain, mention Lyme disease to your GP. Don’t assume it won’t happen to you,” concluded Deputy Murphy.
Further details of Lyme Disease, issued by the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre, can be found here