When Richard Wall, professor of zoology at the University of Bristol, returned from a recent field study in Zambia, he found a tick feeding on his leg. Within 24 hours, he developed a blotchy rash and a blinding headache. 'It was like having a hangover for a week,' he told Independent Nurse.
Professor Wall recognised that he had probably contracted a fever carried by ticks, a group of arthropod parasites that can spread pathogens as they feed on blood. 'I was unable to get an appointment with my GP and when, just out of interest, I tried NHS Direct I was told to go to the chemists and buy some cream for the spots! Tick-borne diseases simply did not figure on the list of possibilities. In my experience, the clinical implications of tick-related diseases are not fully appreciated by nurses and other healthcare professionals.'
More common than expected