House of Lords written question – answered on 23rd May 2012.

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Photo of The Countess of Mar The Countess of Mar Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask her Majesty's Government what epidemiology data exist for the historic and current population densities of Ixodes ricinus ticks in England and Wales; whether it shows an increase in tick numbers; what proportion of ticks carry Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato; and what measures are in place for future monitoring.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Health Protection Agency's (HPA) Medical Entomology group has historical data on tick distribution in the United Kingdom (UK) for the last 100 years and has been running an enhanced tick surveillance programme for the UK since 2005. This monitoring work will continue and the latest findings, published in 2011, conclude that compared to historical data Ixodes ricinus ticks are expanding their geographic UK range, particularly in south-west England. Since 2010, the HPA has conducted studies of tick numbers at 10 sites across the UK as part of the Environmental Change Network; it is too early to say whether tick abundance has increased. Ticks collected in these studies are not currently routinely tested for levels of any pathogens, except within specific funded research projects.

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