Tick and Lyme disease symposium
Christine M Morrison, Chartered EHO, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

NHS Western Isles and the Scottish Health Protection Network held a symposium on Tick and Lyme disease at Sgoil Lionacleit, Isle of Benbecula on 11 August 2017. Over sixty delegates from a number of different organisations attended, in person and across nine videoconference sites.

The day was chaired by Dr. Maggie Watts, Director of Public Health, NHS Western Isles. Presentations were given by Professor Dominic Mellor and Dr. Gill Hawkins, both Health Protection Scotland and Professor Lucy Gilbert from the James Hutton Institute, which examined ticks and Lyme disease from the human, veterinary and ecological perspectives. Dr. Roger Evans, NHS Highland spoke about laboratory testing and diagnosis of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Isabell MacInnes, NHS Western Isles shared information relating to the local epidemiology of Lyme disease and Graham Charlesworth spoke about preliminary findings of “sheet dragging” studies undertaken in areas of South Uist.

The afternoon session allowed delegates to discuss aspects of prevention and awareness, what professionals need to know, tick ecology and management of the environment to help reduce Lyme disease. The event concluded with the identification of priorities for future investigation and research.