The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Scottish gamekeepers back new Lyme disease measures

A new petition has called on tougher measures to prevent and treat Lyme disease.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Samuel Atkins/REX/Shutterstock (4251603at) Wemmergill Moor, Teesdale, Co Durham. The 13,900 acre moor is one of the worlds best grouse shooting moors. It is owned by the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne Various Britain

The Scottish Parliament is considering improvements to testing and treatment for Lyme disease, thanks to a petition supported by gamekeepers and grouse moor managers.

The Tick-borne Illness Campaign Scotland seeks to limit the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. It calls for medical professionals in Scotland to be fully equipped to deal with infections, and also recommends a public-awareness programme.

Severe impact of Lyme disease

The campaign was set up by Lorraine Murray from Montrose, who contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite while out walking her dog during the summer of 2014. The infection took her from “super active to seriously ill” within months and kept her in bed most of the day.

“I just thought how on earth could this happen?” said Ms Murray: “How was it that I went from super active to seriously ill within months? I now spent most of the day in my bed, just myself and all my symptoms. It was a scary and lonely place. I would get up and get the kids out the door and go back to my bed.”

The severe impact of Lyme disease cannot be overstated. Recently, rugby star Matt Dawson has discussed his own struggle with it in the press.

Keepers on the frontline

Gamekeepers are on the frontline in fighting ticks through the management of deer and hare numbers on grouse moors, and are in full support of the petition.

Carrieanne Conaghan, co-ordinator of the Speyside Moorland Group, said: “It is important to carry out tick control — which includes sheep dipping and bracken spraying — as part of our wider moorland management practice. This not only benefits the grouse but additional bird species and reduces risk to members of the public enjoying the countryside. Moorland groups around Scotland fully support this petition as anyone who contracts Lyme disease can be severely affected.”