Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 23 April 2024.

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Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative

To ask His Majesty's Government, following the publication of the UK Health Security Agency report Health Effects of Climate Change (HECC) in the UK: State of the evidence 2023 in January, what steps they are taking to inform health professionals of the heightened risk to public health of (1) Lyme disease, and (2) emerging tick-borne diseases, including tick-borne encephalitis, from an increase in the UK distribution of tick species as a result of a warming climate; and what advice are they providing to those exposed to this risk through work or leisure.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has an active programme to promote awareness of tick-borne diseases among local authorities, health professionals and the public by 2025 in line with the Third National Adaptation Programme. This includes Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. UKHSA has worked to develop a toolkit for local authorities and key stakeholders to raise awareness of the potential risks created by ticks and tick-borne disease, a copy of which is attached. UKHSA also publishes Lyme disease data on Fingertips, which is an open access public health data platform which allows the public, health professionals, and local authorities to view trends, compare indicators and understand the incidence of Lyme disease in their area.

Clinicians are also engaged via teaching sessions for General Practitioners, seminars for infection specialists, and briefing notes to notify clinicians of the possibility of tick-borne diseases, with detail of compatible signs and symptoms. Disease messaging is shared through media, social, and stakeholder channels at a national and regional level, such as the #BeTickAware campaign which aims to raise awareness in the population, including those at risk of exposure through work or leisure.

Be_tick_aware_toolkit (pdf, 1180.9KB)

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