Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has welcomed the news that a new centre is to open this month for the treatment of Lyme disease in the Mater Hospital.

The Sinn Féin TD said that he hoped the new centre will bring enhanced skills and awareness, including speedier diagnosis.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected ticks and the amount of cases is increasing every year in Ireland.

“The Health Service Executive estimates that between 100 and 200 new cases are emerging every year, but many experts believe that this could be even higher with only the chronic cases usually turning up in hospitals.

“Once the tick bites, a distinctive rash usually appears followed by flu like symptoms, it then spreads throughout the body. If left untreated it can lead to fever, muscle pain, joint swelling and temporary paralysis.

“Most people can and do make a full recovery in couple of days if diagnosed early and if the antibiotic prescribed is given in time. Unfortunately it is the ones who are misdiagnosed that are left with life debilitating symptoms similar to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). That is why it is so important that medical professionals are upskilled and greater expertise is brought in to address this growing threat.

“While welcoming the opening of the new centre in the Mater Hospital I am hoping that this development will lead to greater awareness combined with enhanced skills, including speedier and more accurate diagnosis for those who have Lyme disease.

“No fewer than four groups have been established in Ireland to advocate for patients with Lyme disease in recent years and I have met many people who suffer from the effects of the disease on protests.

“The opening of the new centre in the Mater Hospital is down to their campaigning, advocacy work and collectively they need to be congratulated for their tireless work in highlighting the dangers and challenges surrounding Lyme disease.”