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The Forestry Commission is advising visitors to think ahead before they venture out into the New Forest this week. With spring finally here the forest habitat is changing and with it comes an increase in ticks, so during Tick Bite Prevention Week (26 March – 1 April) the Forestry Commission is telling visitors about the (albeit small) risk of contracting Lyme Disease from these pesky parasites.
To combat this, the Forestry Commission has helped fund a research project – in partnership with Forest Research and the Universities of Oxford and Surrey – to assess, and then communicate, the risks of animal disease to countryside visitors. The project uses new computer models to predict the location of ticks that bear the disease – which may lead to the development of an early warning system of dangerous periods and tick ‘hotspots’.
Robin Mair, Forestry Commission Works Supervisor, said:
“Although the chance of getting Lyme Disease is very small, we still encourage visitors to the forest to protect themselves and their dogs with insect repellent, to wear long trousers, brush their clothing down and check their skin and their dogs’ for ticks before leaving.
“If a tick is found, it should be firmly removed with tweezers as soon as possible and a doctor or vet consulted if you are at all concerned that any part of it may be left in the skin.”
Ticks are tiny blood-sucking insects sometimes found in woodland, heathland and moorland, particularly in places where deer live. They can attach themselves to passing animals and humans and some carry infections, the most serious of which is Lyme disease, although it is very rare.
Diseases from ticks are not immediately contracted, they need to be attached to the body for at least 24-36 hours to transmit the disease and, when coming into contact with them, it should be possible to detect and remove them before any harm is done. The highest risk is in late spring and early summer when ticks are most active.
To find out more about tick awareness and prevention in the New Forest, visitwww.forestry.gov.uk/newforest
Notes to editor
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. It supports woodland owners with grants; tree felling licences, regulation and advice; promotes the benefits of forests and forestry; and advises Government on forestry policy. It manages more than a million hectares (2.5 million acres) of national forest land for public benefits such as sustainable timber production, public recreation, nature conservation, and rural and community development. For more information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest.
Libby Burke at the Forestry Commission on 02380 286832.
Paula Quigley or Hannah Keddie at Grayling PR, tel 02380 382970 or email email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org.