Bidh gu leòr nach tug mòran aire, ach sa Cheitean, bhathas a’ comharrachadh Mìos Mothachaidh Nàiseanta Tinneis Lyme. Bidh cuid ann cuideachd aig nach eil tuigse cheart fiù ‘s dè th’ ann, no carson a tha feum air iomairt nàiseanta air a shon.
Daoine a bha ron seo gu math èasgaidh is fallainn – fiù ‘s ri spòrs aig àrd ìre – a’ fulang le sgìths uabhasach is cinn ghoirt, chun na h-ìre ‘s nach eil e comasach leantainn air adhart mar a bha. Agus ri linn bìt bho bhiastaig bhig.
Chan eil àite nas miosa air a shon na Uibhist. Tha an ìre a tha an tinneas air nochdadh a dhà fhichead nas àirde na tha àbhaisteach ann an Alba agus ri linn sin, chaidh nurs sònraichte a chur ann an àite, airson an suidheachadh a thuigsinn nas fheàrr agus dòighean-lèigheis nas fheàrr a leasachadh.
B’ i Iseabail NicAonghais a bha sin agus dh’fhoillsich i pàipear bho chionn ghoirid an dèidh a’ bhuaidh a bha an tinneas a’ toirt air daoine anns an sgìre a sgrùdadh.
B’ e obair air leth chudromach a bha ann. Fhuair i a-mach gun robh daoine a’ fulang bho sheargadh ann an sgilean inntinn agus le sin, gun robh iad a’ fuireach air falbh bho thachartasan sòisealta agus cha robh an aon chomas aca rudan àbhaisteach làitheil a dhèanamh, a thuilleadh air sgìths uabhasach.
Chaidh deasbad a chumail ann am Pàrlamaid na h-Alba an t-seachdain a chaidh mar phàirt dhen iomairt nàiseanta.
Mar a bha Ball-Pàrlamaid an dèidh Ball-Pàrlamaid ag innse mu mar a bha iad fhèin eòlach air cuideigin air an robh an tinneas, bha e follaiseach g’ eil an duilgheadas na b’fharsainge na bha an dùil.
Carson, chan eileas buileach cinnteach, ach tha fhios g’ eil gnothach a choireigin aige ri mar a tha àireamh nan caorach (a tha feumach air stuthan airson na gartain a chumail ann an rian) air na monaidhean a’ dol sìos agus an àireamh fèidh (nach eileas a’ dol faisg air a thaobh ghartan) a’ dol am meud.
Bha dùil ron seo gun robh na h-àireamhan as miosa dìreach far an robh tòrr chraobhan ach tha an suidheachadh ann an Uibhist, far nach eil idir mòran aca, ag innse a chaochladh. Rud a tha ann an Uibhist, ged-tà, ‘s e àireamh mhòr fèidhe.
Anns an deasbad sa Phàrlamaid, thuirt am Ball-Pàrlamaid, Seumas Fairlie, gun deach “na ceudan a mhìltean a chaoraich a thoirt far nam monaidhean” anns na 20 gu 30 bliadhna a chaidh seachad: “Rud a tha sin air ciallachadh, ‘s e g’ eil na gartain air sgapadh gun sgur air feadh raointean farsaing de dh’Alba.”
Gur bith dè as coireach, tha e follaiseach gu bheil Tinneas Lyme gu math nas bitheanta agus feumaidh sinn a bhith nas mothachail na bha.
Cha ghabh e mòran a bhith nas tuigsiche, a bhith nas fhaiceallaiche agus a dhol a dh’iarraidh cobhair cho tràth ’s a ghabhas ma thig e ort.
It will probably have passed most people by, but May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month. There will be many who will not fully understand the condition, let alone why it deserves a special awareness effort. But that, if anything, only reinforces the point as to why it’s needed.
The tick-borne infection is very much on the rise, even on the march in some places, and from the personal testimonies of those who have been in the unfortunate position of having contracted it, there can be little doubt as to its debilitating effect, particularly if left undiagnosed and untreated for some time. People who were previously very active, superfit even, find themselves inexplicably tired and fatigued, suffering with headaches and unable to function at anything like the level that had been normal before. And all because of a bite from a wee beastie.
Nowhere has the issue been more prevalent than in Uist, where, on the back of incidences being 40 times more common per head of population than the Scottish average, a dedicated nurse was put in place, both to understand the situation and to find better pathways to treatment. Isabell MacInnes, NHS Western Isles health protection and screening nurse specialist, recently published a paper following research into how the disease affects quality of life for patients. It was ground-breaking. In her studies of local cases, she found they suffered significant “cognitive issues” and, as a result, “a reduction in participation in social activities and the ability to carry out normal tasks”, as well as “fatigue, which affected them physically, mentally, economically and socially”.
So, it is not to be taken lightly and as MSPs last week lined up in a formal parliamentary debate to tell stories of people they know themselves who have suffered from the disease, it is clear it is becoming increasingly widespread. Why is not exactly certain, except that there is clearly a correlation between a reduction in the number of sheep on the moors and hills (which are required to be under a special treatment programme to control ticks) and a significant rise in deer numbers, which are not controlled in this way at all.
Previously the rise was thought to have been confined to wooded areas, but the situation in Uist (famously treeless) dispelled that theory. What it does have, however, is deer in huge numbers. During the parliamentary debate, MSP Jim Fairlie, a former farmer, said “hundreds of thousands of hill sheep have been taken off the hills” in the last 20 to 30 years. “What that has meant is that the tick has been allowed to thrive unchecked over the huge swathes of Scotland,” he said.
Whatever the causes, Lyme disease is very much on the increase and it is something that those who live in the countryside, or even who visit for leisure time, need to be wary of. The least we can do is be aware and, crucially, seek diagnosis as soon as potential symptoms present themselves.