Participants sought to uncover mysteries around tick related illnesses

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Shannon SmithGreat Southern Herald
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The Troublesome Ticks study at Murdoch University aims to solve mysteries around illnesses related to tick bites, and researchers are urging Great Southern residents to get involved.

The four-year project is being conducted with funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

It is an effort to identify the causes of debilitating symptom complexes attributed to ticks, previously described as being Lyme disease-like.

The Lake Grace Medical Centre has already signed up to link people who have experienced tick bites with the research team.

Professor Peter Irwin said his team wanted to shed light on why some people became sick after getting tick bites and why some appeared to develop long-lasting illnesses.

“While there are a few well-recognised tick-borne illnesses in Australia, there is very little information on a person’s immune responses to tick bite, or what other organisms may be transmitted,” he said.

“The medical profession needs more information about this as there is very little evidence-based information currently available in Australia.

“Ultimately, it came about from public concern about a perceived lack of information about illness resulting from tick bites and what was referred to as Lyme disease-like illness, now called DSCATT.”

While the study is nationwide, he said the South West was a region where people were more likely to get bitten by ticks.

The study has been recruiting patients for about four months.

Anyone bitten by a tick can call 1300 817 070 to be part of the study.

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