A scientific body that warns on risks to health across the globe has called for greater awareness of the potentially fatal Lyme disease, which is a particular problem for walkers in the Westcountry.
Taylor & Francis Group reports in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management that more attention needs to be paid to avoiding outbreaks of the tick-borne illness, that can be extremely serious and even deadly.
It says of the disease: "It is a high-profile vector-borne infection that is increasing in significance in the UK and consequently impacting on countryside planning and management. With more people working or recreating in the countryside, there is a need for land-based organisations to manage potential risks."
Lyme disease is generally picked up when a walker is bitten by a tick, especially in areas frequented by deer. In warmer weather Dartmoor, Exmoor and the woods and forests of the Westcountry are particularly risky areas and walkers are advised to avoid wearing shorts and to cover legs and feet when walking.
The report calls on organisations like the South West's national parks and the National Trust, to recognise the risk of contracting Lyme disease, using shared information which must be accurate and consistent and can be tailored to different audiences. The paper also calls for stronger links between health authorities and land-based organisations.
Read the full article online at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09640568.2012.660569