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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of people likely to have undiagnosed active Lyme disease; and what steps his Department will take to (a) identify these people and (b) raise awareness of Lyme disease and its symptoms among GPs.
The number of people with undiagnosed active Lyme disease has not been estimated in the United Kingdom.
The Department is not proposing to take steps to identify people with undiagnosed active Lyme disease. Those in whom infection is asymptomatic or has caused only mild or self-limiting symptoms and who do not consult a general practitioner (GP) are not identifiable. Those with active disease whose symptoms require them to seek a GP consultation will be diagnosed.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has published guidance for GPs and other clinicians on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme Disease on its website and has also run various campaigns to promote awareness of Lyme disease among clinicians and the public.
The HPA's Lyme Disease Reference Laboratory provides an expert and freely available diagnostic service to GPs and other clinicians and has nationwide links to experts in infectious diseases, neurology, rheumatology and other specialties that have a particular interest in Lyme disease.