Uni satisfied with sample
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.”