If you live and/or work in Scotland, leading Scottish life sciences company Xeroshield is looking for your help with the completion of a major new study about ticks and Lyme disease.
The study has been backed by BADA-UK, the charity behind Tick Bite Prevention Week.
Members of the public are being encouraged to take five minutes to complete a short online survey asking them some straightforward questions about their own experience of ticks and Lyme disease in Scotland.
Lyme borreliosis is a tick-borne illness which, without prompt treatment, can cause debilitating long-term human health problems including nervous damage and psychological alterations. Ticks are prevalent in Scotland and most commonly found in wooded or bushy areas or amongst heather and bracken. They attach themselves to the skin of a host and feed on its blood. Ticks infected with Lyme borreliosis can transmit the disease to their host during the feeding process.
Xeroshield is keen to hear from people who spend lengthy periods of time outdoors for work or leisure and are therefore at higher risk of exposure to tick bites and Lyme disease. Clearly, cyclists would fall within one of these higher risk categories.
The company is exploring the development of an innovative device for the removal of ticks from humans and pets, combined with a laboratory service for the detection of Lyme disease in ticks collected and immobilised using this device. The current study, funded by the UK technology strategy board, is designed to assess the potential market for such a product and service. But it is also expected to generate useful data about general awareness of ticks and Lyme disease in Scotland.
Over the coming months, Xeroshield also plans to undertake more detailed interviews and focus groups and would be particularly interested to hear from anyone willing to participate in this more detailed survey work later this year.
To find out more about this project and to complete the ticks and Lyme disease survey online, please visit: xerolyme.wordpress.com.