Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 11:24 UK

Lyme disease warning to islanders

An example of Lyme disease
The most common symptom is a slowly expanding rash

People on the Isle of Man are being warned of the dangers of Lyme disease.

The tick-borne infection is on the increase as a result of mild winters and hotter summers, which mean the parasites live and breed for longer.

Lyme disease can be hard to spot as it has a variety of symptoms, and can easily be mistaken for something else.

Chris Cafferkey from the island said she felt ill for many years before the disease was diagnosed by a specialist in the UK five years ago.


The most common symptom is a slowly expanding rash which spreads out from a tick bite, usually after about five to 14 days.

Typical symptoms also include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans.

Most cases can be treated with a few weeks of antibiotics, but if left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

The disease can be easily contracted from a walk in the park or pets.

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