Bug bites of all kinds are annoying. We can't think that anyone actually likes the itchiness and general uncomfortableness that comes with being bitten by an insect. And we're all aware that bites received on holiday can be potentially deadly. However, we don't usually think that bug bites here at home anything to get worried about.
Diseases caught through bug bites aren't just for holidays though. Peter Kemp of Teddington noticed three tick bites on his leg in 1991, but paid little attention to them. Shortly after, he began suffering from migraines, severe fatigue and digestive problems. In December of last year, fifteen years after his symptoms arrived, he was diagnosed with Lyme disease. He feels that had he been informed about the disease and how to protect himself, he would have saved himself years of suffering.
Kemp, who believes he caught the disease through tick bites obtained in one of Richmond Park, Bushy Park, Suffolk, Devon or Somerset, has appealed to Richmond Park to put up warning signs, altering visitors to the possible danger and advising how to avoid tick bites. Vincent Cable, the MP for Twickenham, agrees and is urging the Royal Parks to highlight the danger in park notices.
Lyme disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose, and the best way of avoiding the disease is prevention. There is no vaccine for Lyme disease, but following precautions when in tick-friendly areas can help with prevention.
Richmond Park does put up warning notices, claims the assistant manager of the park:
We do put information on the notice boards at the times of year that ticks are more present. We also liaised with local doctors so that they appreciate there are parks nearby and they should liaise with us if issues arise.
But as a sufferer of the disease, Kemp feels those warnings should be more visible to the general public.
Image courtesy of Don Van Dyke's Flickr photostream