Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has called on the Health Minister to make blood tests for Lyme disease available here in Ireland. The current tests available here have varying degrees of accuracy and samples must be sent abroad for more reliable results.
Deputy Scanlon raised the issue with Minister Simon Harris in the Dáil this week.
“We are witnessing an increase in the number of cases of Lyme disease being diagnosed here in Ireland, but awareness levels and testing methods still remain relatively primitive. This is a very debilitating disease and early detection can make a huge difference to sufferers, however there are serious issues with testing here in Ireland”, said Deputy Scanlon.
“Last year I met with one of the support groups, Tick Tock, and they explained the issues with the current testing methods here. At the moment, samples have to be sent abroad in order to secure the most reliable results. This not only takes time, it can be extremely expensive.
“I understand that GPs are not fully trained to deal with Lyme disease, but it is crucial that they are brought up to speed on it. The earlier it is detected the faster it can be treated. This would make a huge difference to people living with it. I also find it difficult to understand how there is no facility available in Ireland to accurately test for the disease. We have excellent hospitals and laboratories in this country and it would make more sense for us to carry out the tests here at home rather than having to send samples abroad.
“I raised this issue with Minister Harris this week, who confirmed that a study is underway to examine how Ireland is dealing with Lyme disease compared to other countries. I will be following up with the Minister once that study is completed”.