Where did Lyme Disease Come from All of a Sudden

Dr. Eoin Healy, UCC School of Biology will participate on the Irish TV documentary.
Dr. Eoin Healy, UCC School of Biology will participate on the Irish TV documentary. Click on the image to see an excerpt from the documentary.

Fadó, fadó I sat in a building site hut on Aughinish Island and watched a man dislodge what we called a Scirtán from a workmate’s back.

His only qualifications for the job were his long fingernails, good eyesight and the fact that he smoked. While the island crawled with safety officers, there was no mention of health in their portfolios then.

The patient in the hut was told to turn his back to the light. The chief surgeon took a good drag of his fag and took it from his mouth and blew away the excess ash.

“This fella will have a sore arse now,” he said as he applied the red tip to the Scirtán’s exposed rear.

The Black of your Nail

He finished the job with the aforementioned long fingernails. He wasn’t a man for eating his nails. And this was still in the days when ‘the black of your nail’ was an accepted and understood unit of measurement.

Each gang on the site had a basic first aid box. A drop of iodine and a plaster were applied and the cards were dealt.

Scirtáns were an everyday fact of life back then for people who worked outside. Gardens, meadows, bogs, woods and if you had a dog or two – and who hadn’t – you would be sure to find a few stuck in you every evening.

Now, it seems that those very same Scirtáns,  or Ticks as they’re known these days, are the cause of what’s coming close to an epidemic of Lyme Disease.

Charities being Set Up

It’s cropping up on news items with great frequency in recent times and there are charities being set up and walks being organised to help fund research and back-up for sufferers.

Then, I got an email last night from Farranfore based, cameraman and Irish TV producer, James Pembroke about a new documentary ‘Living with Lyme Disease’ on which he worked with his son, David and Brian Hurley. It will be broadcast on ‘Irish TV’ on Tuesday October 11th 2016 at 9pm.

“The documentary features Lyme sufferers from Kerry and other parts of Ireland including myself when I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2015,” said James.

It also includes local GP Dr. Eamonn Shanahan, Farranfore and Dr. Armin Schwarzbach. MD PhD. Germany.
If you wish to learn more about Lyme disease, its symptoms and treatment and also some useful information about tick prevention and removal, you can do so with a click here.


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