Cut num­ber of pheas­ants

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - COMMENT -

Sir, - Much has been writ­ten of late about the rise in num­bers of those who have con­tracted Lyme dis­ease through be­ing bit­ten by an in­fected tick.

The per­cent­age of ticks that carry the spiro­chetes re­quired to spread the dis­ease has risen from 2% in the 1970s to 6% in re­cent years.

Re­search con­ducted in the late 1990s con­cluded that pheas­ants are an ef­fec­tive reser­voir for these in­fec­tive agents and po­ten­tially play an im­por­tant part in their main­te­nance.

The num­bers of pheas­ants re­leased an­nu­ally has risen from 20 mil­lion to 40 mil­lion since the re­search was con­ducted.

This gives rise to the dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity that the un­reg­u­lated re­lease of these birds into our coun­try­side has, by de­fault, also greatly in­creased the num­ber of peo­ple con­tract­ing Lyme dis­ease.

It is not enough to sim­ply warn peo­ple of the dan­gers posed by these ticks.

Mea­sures must be taken to en­sure the con­tin­ued rise in num­bers of in­fected ticks is stopped.

Reg­u­lat­ing and re­duc­ing the num­ber of pheas­ants in­tro­duced an­nu­ally seems a good place to be­gin. George Mur­doch. Auchairnie Cot­tages, Lau­rencekirk.

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