A roundtable meeting focussing on the science and awareness of Lyme Disease was held in the Scottish Parliament this week.
Organised by Scottish Conservative MSPs Donald Cameron and Alexander Burnett, the event heard from expert speakers who spoke about issues including; existing and developing treatments and diagnostics, the debate over how to raise awareness, and a personal account of the disease and the impact that it has on the lives of sufferers.
Speakers included Lyme Disease experts Dr. Roger Evans of NHS Highland and Prof. Dominic Mellor, as well as the CEO of Innatoss Laboratories from the Netherlands, Dr Anja Garritsen, and Lyme Disease patient, Janey Cringean.
A cross-party group of MSPs were present and representatives of the Scottish Government’s Health Protection Scotland organisation were also in attendance.
Donald Cameron MSP said:
“Following the petition that patients have brought to the Parliament, we felt it would be very worthwhile to hear from some of the foremost experts in this field, and to understand the challenges that patients face.
Lyme disease has been a public health issue in the Highlands and Islands for some time, with particularly high prevalence of Lyme disease in parts of the Western Isles, for example. From Lochmaddy to Fort William, many constituents and medical personnel across the region have raised this with me and I am determined to keep up the pressure.
It is clear from the meeting that this is a complex issue, and that there is no simple way to diagnose or treat Lyme Disease. However, we can do far more to make people aware of tick bites, and the need for early intervention, whilst at the same time ensuring that we don’t put people off enjoying the countryside and all it has to offer.
I know this event was very useful for the MSPs and civil servants present. Now we need to put words into actions and I will be writing to Scottish Ministers to ask them for assistance in the ongoing battle against this disease.”