Uni sat­is­fied with sam­ple

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

MUR­DOCH re­searchers, in con­junc­tion with col­leagues at Syd­ney and Curtin uni­ver­si­ties, have now tested be­tween 600 and 700 ticks.

While that rep­re­sents just a tiny frac­tion of the bil­lions of ticks present in Aus­tralia, Dr Ir­win be­lieves the sam­ple is an ac­cu­rate cross-sec­tion of the en­tire pop­u­la­tion.

“The sec­ond study we con­ducted was only look­ing at ticks taken off peo­ple, some of those peo­ple ill with what they be­lieved to be a Lyme disease-like ill­ness,” Dr Ir­win said.

“We tested 460 of those ticks and if the Lyme disease ba­terium re­ally was present in Aus­tralia, that is the group we thought we would find it in. Part of the prob­lem is that in or­der to test for a disease, you need to know what to test for,” he said.

“In Amer­ica or Europe you get tested for Lyme disease be­cause you know that it ex­ists there. The prob­lem in Aus­tralia is that peo­ple are be­ing tested by North Amer­i­can or Euro­pean tests and some come back pos­i­tive.

“No ac­cred­ited lab in Aus­tralia has ever found it in peo­ple who have never trav­elled over­seas, so some peo­ple get­ting these tests done over­seas are un­for­tu­nately be­ing led to be­lieve they have Lyme disease when they quite prob­a­bly do not.”

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