To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to her answer of 30 November 2006, Official Report, columns 916-7W, on Lyme disease, what strategies her Department has in place to deal with the increase in the number of people contracting Lyme disease.
Increases in laboratory confirmed cases have occurred due to both improved ascertainment and increased exposure to infection.
There is now an expanded and improved repertoire of diagnostic tests that have become available in the past three years to enable rapid laboratory confirmation of diagnosis of Lyme disease.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) provides clinical advice to physicians who care for patients who may have Lyme disease, and has nationwide links to experts in infectious diseases, neurology, rheumatology and other specialties who have a particular interest in Lyme disease, to whom patients can be referred. The HPA takes part in national and international collaborations to improve diagnostic tests and to promote evidence based treatments.
The HPA has raised awareness of Lyme disease through its website and through presentations to, and discussions with, professional and recreational and special interest groups. NHS Direct has published comprehensive information on the disease, including preventive measures, on its website.