Mar 21, 2019 | Updated: 04:58 PM EDT

UK: Lyme Disease Now Spreading Into The Suburbs

Oct 13, 2015 08:17 AM EDT

Adult (left) and nymph (right) blacklegged ticks causing Lyme disease

An increasing number of Lyme disease cases has been reported in the United Kingdom, reaching a skyrocketing fourfold increase in the last 12 years. However, NHS allegedly claimed a rough estimate of around 3000 per year in England and Wales alone.

The Daily Mail reported that "surging numbers of people are being diagnosed with Lyme disease as cases spread from rural areas to the suburbs." For instance, Lyme disease-infected ticks are now found on new housing projects as claimed by Howard Cater, a bite protection expert. He further revealed that in 2014, he found ticks of sheep and deer on almost three quarters of the parks in London. This is in congruence with the study of a group of researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who found ticks in urban parks such as Richmond Park and Bushy Park.

This infestation is also thought to be due to other factors like climate change, where warmer winters can  prolong the lives of ticks, and immigration from central to eastern Europe, where the disease is said to be common.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme disease is acquired thru an insect bite from the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. An infected person may experience fever, headache, fatigue, and a distinct skin rash. This can further affect vital organs like the heart and nervous system if left untreated.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Cater disclosed that "the number of ticks is increasing all the time and quite dramatically... people really need to be aware of the impact these things can have on health." He further warned that "if you are bitten it is not a little itch that goes away after a couple of days, it can be life-changing or even fatal."

The disease exempts no one as this has also affected celebrities like Selena Gomez, Avril Lavigne, and Bella Hadid and billionaires like Phones4U founder John Caudwell, his ex-wife and all three children.

So some tips to prevent contracting the disease include covering up when going outdoors and applying insect repellants.

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