Cut number of pheasants
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.