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By Disabled People for Disabled People

Thursday, 6 April, 2023

Ticks aren’t nice and they’re thriving in the UK

Where I’m from, you can’t be considered a responsible outdoor person unless you’re willing to inspect your father’s naked body for ticks. Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada, has the dubious honour of being among the tick-iest places in the world. Surely these things are hard to measure, but reputable scientists claim it has the highest tick-to-person ratio in the country, and, at about one case of Lyme disease for every 1,000 residents per year, the highest incidence of Lyme disease as well. Walking outside on anything besides cut grass or concrete is likely to yield multiple tiny, near-indestructible arachnids that immediately make an upward dash for a warm crevice at the knee, armpit or often, groin, to burrow into. Finding and removing them can require a mirror and some contortions, or a helpful and unsqueamish friend or family member.

Things are – thankfully – not quite so bad in the UK. But the recent outbreak of potentially deadly tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in England and Scotland is a reminder that ticks are getting worse here, as well. The first suspected incidence of the disease in the UK was in 2019, and cases of Lyme disease also appear to be increasing over the past few years.

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