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Ticks Found in South London Park Linked to Lyme Disease

Sep 25, 2015 01:40 PM EDT
Richmond Park, London
Richmond Park in London, pictured here, was found to house ticks carrying Lyme disease.
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons )

While the risk of contracting Lyme disease in London parks is generally low, a recent study found some ticks carry the bacterial parasite, Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes the tick-bourn disease.

Wiley researchers collected ticks from four parks in South London. Ticks are generally found among tall grasses or shrubbery. Then when animal or human hosts walk by, they latch on. Not all ticks pose threats to their hosts. Ticks have four life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph and adult. The researchers examined the prevalence of ticks throughout each of the London parks, according to a news release.

A total of 1109 ticks were collected from Richmond Park, including 532 larvae, 568 nymphs, six adult male and three adult female. While, only nine nymph ticks were collected from Bushy Park and no evidence of ticks was found in Wimbledon Common or Hampton Court.

"The overall the risk of Lyme disease in London parks is very low, but precautions should be taken. Check yourself and your pets after frequenting parkland areas and remove ticks as quickly as possible, if you find any, using a tick removal tool," Dr. James Logan, senior author of the Medical and Veterinary Entomology study, said in a statement. "To minimize the risk, stick to footpaths and wear an insect repellent. "

After analyzing the ticks, researchers estimated the presence of 0.22 infected ticks per 40 meter transect in Richmond Park. They recommend taking preventative measures when visiting Bushy and Richmond Parks.

Their study was recently published in the journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology.

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-Follow Samantha on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13

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