Nurses working in emergency and primary care settings in South London could encounter patients with Lyme disease-carrying ticks, suggests latest research.
Visitors to two popular parks in South London are at risk of coming into contact with ticks that can transmit Lyme disease to humans, according to a study in the journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology.
“To minimise the risk, stick to footpaths and wear an insect repellent”
Researchers studied four parks to see how prevalent ticks were and whether they carried the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterial parasite that causes Lyme disease.
A total of 1,109 ticks were collected at Richmond Park and nine ticks were collected at Bushy Park.
In contrast, the team found no evidence of ticks on Wimbledon Common or in the grounds of Hampton Court.
When the researchers analysed ticks for the presence of B. burgdorferi, they estimated the presence of 0.22 infected ticks per 40m transect in Richmond Park.
Based on their findings, they advised members of the public to take preventative measures to avoid tick bites in Bushy, and especially Richmond, parks.
“The overall the risk of Lyme disease in London parks is very low, but precautions should be taken, said senior study author Dr James Logan, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“Check yourself and your pets after frequenting parkland areas and remove ticks as quickly as possible, if you find any, using a tick removal tool,” he said.
“To minimise the risk, stick to footpaths and wear an insect repellent,” he added.