Irish Government incorrectly states "Lyme disease infection is generally mild affecting only the skin"

The Irish Government sent this letter in response to a question regarding Lyme disease from a patient, who had addressed this question to the Irish parliament.

  • While the rest of the world is seeing increases in tick-borne infections, the Irish government says it is 'stable' and not increasing over the last five years.
  • While a Scottish study showed that an "Erythema migrans was recorded in only 285 (48%) of patients", the Irish quote 90%.
  • While the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center describes Lyme as a multi-system infection, where the bacteria spreads from the rash into the blood stream and disseminates to all organs and tissues of the body, the Irish describe it as most of the time a simple skin rash that has no further consequences.     

Who has the accurate information on this complex disease?

The Lyme Resource Centre is working in the UK and Ireland to raise awareness at all levels.  Critically we need to reach the Government who control the media and the message to the patients.  We need to change the message to an accurate one.  Tick-borne infections are increasing globally, including Ireland.  The fact that they are not keeping track of the cases does not mean they are not there.  And new patient information from the Irish government should be updated to provide accuracy to their messages:  the erythema migrans rash is not always present, clearly not 90%, probably only 50%.  And a Lyme rash leads to dissemination of the bacteria throughout the body, it does not just represent a localised and simple skin infection. 

Irish Government letter