Press release by Julia Goldsworthy MP


Liberal Democrat MP for the

Falmouth and Camborne Constituency

Date:  12th February 2007


Following the Launch of the Lyme Disease Action Charity in Penryn, local MP Julia Goldsworthy has tabled a Parliamentary Motion, calling on the Government to take more action to tackle this serious and growing health problem.

Official figures for England and Wales show that between 2003 and 2006 the number of laboratory confirmed cases of Lyme disease has more than doubled. However, the Health Protection Agency acknowledges that these numbers do not equate to the actual numbers of cases, which they estimate could
be up to 2000 per annum. Lyme Disease Action has evidence that even these figures may be an underestimate.

Ms Goldsworthy was made aware of the issue, by Stephanie Woodcock of Penryn, who is Chair of the charity which through its ‘Lobby for Lyme’ campaign, is raising awareness of this serious and potentially chronic health condition and calling on the government to make it a notifiable
Lyme disease is caused by the bite of an infected tick; something that can happen on any country walk in the UK. It can be difficult to diagnose and consequently many people with Lyme disease are not being recognised as having it.

Denzil Searle from Camborne has had the disease for nearly two years. He was misdiagnosed and
was forced to seek treatment from a private specialist. Mr Searle said:

“Lyme disease is a truly horrible illness, made even
worse by the lack of interest and understanding by GPs, and poor information provided by the health authorities. I was a fit, healthy outdoor type, but was virtually crippled by constant pain, fatigue, lack of sleep, numbness, and pins and needles.”

“Several months into a high dose course of antibiotics I am not quite back to normal but my life has come back.”

Julia Goldsworthy MP, who tabled Early Day Motion (874) and is encouraging her fellow MPs to put pressure on the government, said:

“I first became aware of this serious health problem when I was contacted by constituents who had symptoms of Lyme disease, but who had been told they did not have this disease.

“I learned that there are difficulties surrounding this diagnosis and it should be diagnosed on clinical symptoms.  In the case of my constituents, treatment against Lyme disease was successful, enabling both to work and become active members of the community again.  The
Department of Health really needs to look at this issue again.”  


Note to Editors:

(1) Full text of the EDM 874:  

“That this House acknowledges that Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a serious and potentially chronic disease which is becoming more widespread across the United Kingdom; notes the growing body of evidence which suggests patients with this condition are frequently
subject to misdiagnosis and under-treatment; is concerned the disease appears to be under-reported and inadequately investigated; calls upon the Government to make Lyme borreliosis ‘notifiable’ as a first step to tackling the disease.”    

 (2) A notifiable disease must be reported to public health authorities at the time it is diagnosed because it is potentially dangerous to human or animal health. Notifiable diseases currently include Bird Flu, BSE and Anthrax.
(3) The current diagnostic procedure
often includes an over-reliance on whether or not a person was at risk of a tick bite whereas this risk is just one factor amongst many that should be considered. Added to this, the current laboratory tests for Lyme disease are often inconclusive. The availability of doctors and consultants with
expert knowledge of how to recognise and treat Lyme disease and associated tick-borne disease is currently inadequate. Lyme Disease Action has heard many accounts from patients of being given incorrect information.
 (4) Some cases of Lyme disease, especially those that are
undiagnosed or untreated may progress to develop the disease in a more chronic and severe form. Symptoms typically shown in chronic cases include: extreme tiredness, muscle pain, muscle weakness, joint pain, upset digestive system, headache and involvement of the nervous system, including the
(5) Details about the death of Dr Alasdair Crockett available here:

Cases of Lyme disease with a mild, uncomplicated primary infection, if treated in time, have a good prognosis. The majority of these people return to good health.
(7) Ticks and the diseases they carry are becoming increasingly widespread in the United Kingdom. Official figures for
numbers of laboratory-confirmed cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales were 292 in 2003, 500 in 2004 and 595 in 2005.

(8) Lyme Disease Action – Striving for prevention and treatment of Lyme Disease and associated tick-borne diseases.

(9) Lyme Disease Action is a registered charity No. 1100448.

Contact Lyme Disease Action: Stephanie Woodcock on 01326 375419