It’s time GPs took Lyme disease 

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T here are usually about 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year.

In the summer of 2013 Lisa Dunkley from Fareham was one of them.

We highlight her courageous fight to have it diagnosed correctly in the Family Life section of the paper today.

Thirty-four-year-old Lisa vividly describes the painful side effects of the illness which started with what she thought was an ordinary insect bite while she was gardening.

It wasn’t, for it turned out to be Lyme disease which is caused when a tick becomes infected with the disease if it has bitten an animal carrying the bacteria borrelia burgdorferi.

Lisa has become a passionate crusader to convince the medical profession to take it more seriously.

Doctors suggested she had anxiety or depression until one day one of them asked if she remembered being bitten.

The Royal College of General Practitioners does run an online training course for treating Lyme disease. But GPs are rushed off their feet, as we all know. and have little time for online training.

However, if everyone encourage their GP to look at the NHS Choices website there would be a lot more awareness.

Whether you are gardening this summer or out for a walk in the countryside, you are at risk.

It might sound inconvenient in hot weather, but you should wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers tucked into socks when out walking to minimise the chances of being bitten by ticks.

Parents should check children’s head and neck areas after walks as well as pet’s fur.

The most obvious sign is a big red circle appearing on the skin, but not necessarily around the area of the tick bite.

Lisa says many people have been misdiagnosed with ME or chronic fatigue syndrome. ‘The country needs to open its eyes to the reality,’ she says.

Which is why we lend our weight to her campaign, if only to stop one person going through the agonies Lisa faced simply for doing some gardening.