Notes for Editors

LDUK comment on Coronation Street storyline of Joseph being diagnosed with Lyme disease – January 2024.

Lyme Disease UK would like to connect with journalists from media outlets to help with features on Lyme disease. We can put you in touch with Lyme disease patients, doctors and other experts to aid your work. Patient stories and photos are available, and we have a facts and stats page that you may find useful.  Please send links to any published stories if you wish us to share them via our social media channels, and feel free to contact us on: At the bottom of this page we have provided links to various awareness materials, including our awareness-raising animations, which you are welcome to use in your work.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochaetal bacteria from the genus Borrelia. It is most commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Ticks can be found all over the United Kingdom, often in woodland and grassy areas but also in urban parks and gardens. Around 1,000 serologically confirmed cases occur in the UK each year, however Public Health England estimate that there could be around 3,000 new cases per year. Data is incomplete and the true number is likely to be much higher.

The need for greater awareness of Lyme disease

It is vital to inform people about Lyme disease, because everyone who goes outside is at risk and the illness is often misdiagnosed due to a lack of knowledge amongst doctors.

  • Current testing methods are inadequate giving false negative results, and we do not have a test which can tell us when Lyme disease has been cured. It is essential for doctors to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease so that it does not go undiagnosed. Many doctors are unaware of the NICE guidelines for Lyme disease which were published in 2018 or The RCGP’s Lyme Disease Toolkit.
  • Treatment is more likely to be effective if Lyme disease is diagnosed early.
  • Early symptoms can include an Erythema Migrans (EM) rash in the shape of bull’s-eye rash (but the rash can also be atypical in appearance), swollen glands, fever, headaches, numbness and tingling, muscle and joint pain and fatigue. If the disease is left untreated it can result in cardiac problems, chronic pain, neurological complications and other disabling symptoms.
  • Awareness is crucial as people need to learn how to protect themselves, their families, and their pets from this potentially dangerous disease. In 2016, the Big Tick Project discovered that a third of dogs checked in a study had ticks attached which their owners did not know about.
  • Lyme disease is sometimes misdiagnosed as conditions with similar or overlapping symptoms such as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. Many of the members of our Online Community group have had difficult and prolonged experiences trying to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

About Lyme Disease UK

Lyme Disease UK is a UK registered charity providing patient support and raising awareness of Lyme disease.
Our mission is to prevent cases of Lyme disease by raising awareness of the importance of tick bite prevention and what to do if you are bitten by a tick.
We want to ensure that anyone who does contract the disease in the UK can access timely and appropriate treatment to prevent long-term symptoms and complications from the infection.  We will achieve this by working to ensure that:
  • Every UK household is aware of the risk of tick bites and Lyme disease and understands prevention methods and symptoms to look for.
  • All front line medical staff in the UK are aware of Lyme disease and at least one doctor in each team has completed the RCGP online course on Lyme disease.
  • We provide support and knowledge to every single UK resident who is infected in 2024 as well as continuing to provide support to those already suffering with Lyme disease.

Media interest in Lyme Disease

Media interest in Lyme disease continues to grow, particularly since celebrities such as Justin Bieber, John Caudwell, Yolanda Foster, Ally Hilfiger, Avril Lavigne, Matt Dawson and Nell McAndrew have been talking publicly about their struggles with Lyme. Our members regularly appear in the national press and on TV, and we can provide a list of links to articles and appearances if this would be of interest.

Useful Links