A man in his 50s has contracted Lyme disease after being bitten 17 times whilst out on an early morning fishing trip in Weston-super-Mare.
Nigel Smith, 55, was wearing shorts on the first day of his trip to Summer Lane Ponds when he was attacked by the parasites.
He then developed red spots on his legs and a rash appeared all over his left leg.
It wasn't until the next day when Nigel was back at work that he began showing severe flu-like symptoms, a sign of Lyme disease.
He is now on a four-week course of strong antibiotics to fight his reaction.
When he got back home, Nigel started feeling worse and went to A&E at Weston General Hospital where a nurse told him quickly he was suffering from Lyme Disease.
Nigel is currently off work, but is expected to make a full recovery. He is warning others to take extra precautions when walking in long grass.
What is Lyme Disease?
- Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium named Borrelia spread by ticks.
- The most common sign of infection is an expanding area of redness on the skin which appears at the site of the tick bite about a week after it occurred.
- Untreated, Lyme disease can spread to other parts of the body for several months to years after infection, causing arthritis and nervous system problems.
- Most people recover when treated within a few weeks of antibiotics taken by mouth. In a small percentage of cases, symptoms such as fatigue and muscle aches can last for more than six months.
- Ticks become more prevalent between May and September.
- The number of cases of Lyme Disease has increased in recent years.
- Ticks are small, spider like creatures which feed on the blood of animals and humans.
- Most tick bites occur during spring and summer because this is the time of year when most people take part in outdoor activities.
- Damp, shady dense vegetation, dead leaves or long grass provide the perfect habitat for the creatures.
- Ticks don't jump or fly, but climb on to people or animals as they brush past. They then bite into the skin and attach themselves, before they start feeding on the blood of their new host.
- Ticks prefer warm places on the body, especially the groin area, waist, armpits, behind the knee and along hairlines.
Public Health England has recently issued advice advising people how to avoid getting bitten and what steps to take for those who do.
With an estimated 2000-3000 new cases in England and Wales each year, Lyme disease is one of the fastest-growing infections in the UK.
However the true number of cases is likely to be much higher due to under-reporting and unreliable testing methods.
People who spend time outdoors in areas where ticks are found are most at risk of developing Lyme disease.