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Lyme threat: Children doing more than a government agency

Tick bites can lead to Lyne disease which can have an catastrophic impact

HOW the National Parks and Wildlife Service reacts to repeated calls to erect signs warning people of the dangers of tick bites in Killarney National Park could be a matter of life or death, a Killarney councillor has warned.

Cllr Maura Healy-Rae has asked Kerry County Council to engage with the department to urge the NPWS to erect signage reminding visitors to check themselves for ticks in order to prevent Lyme disease.

“The consequences are too serious, it is a matter of life and death,” she said.

Cllr Maura Healy-Rae: Children are seeking to make the public more aware of the problem than a government agency

Cllr Healy-Rae said Lyme disease has become too common and she said in a recent televised documentary on the problem it was striking to learn about how destructive the condition can be, physically and emotionally, with many suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts.

She commended Killarney man Anthony Morris for his bravery in telling his Lyme disease story and she acknowledged the efforts of the children of Loreto National School who have produced tick removal kits.

“It is incredible that children are seeking to make the public more aware of the problem than a government agency,” she added.

Kerry County Council is to investigate the possibility of erecting signage at the entrances to the national park and a letter seeking action will be sent to the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government asking that he would urge the NPWS to erect adequate signage.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae has also put down a parliamentary question on the matter.

In the meantime, Cllr Healy-Rae has urged the public to follow the best tick prevention advice when walking in the park and that includes wearing light-coloured trousers to see the tick easily, wearing smooth materials that the tick can’t attach onto, not wearing shorts and spray insect repellent on to wrists and ankles.

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