Skip to main content

Lyme Disease

Medical synopsis

Bacterial infections spread to humans by infected tics. Treated with antibiotics. Commonly found in woodland areas.

Prescribed disease?

Yes where exposure follows exposure to deer or mammals of a type liable to harbour ticks containing the Borrelia bacteria.

Type of industry commonly affected

Forest and woodland workers. Animal keepers.


Very rare in the occupational field. Overwhelming majority of cases arise amongst hikers and campers. Estimated 2000 – 3000 cases per annum.

Date of knowledge

Not firmly established by case law though unlikely to be later than 1980.

Remarks on Value

Variable. Initial symptoms involve a rash around the area of the bite, flu like symptoms, headaches and muscle/joint pain. If the condition is left untreated, months or years later, swelling of the joints or temporary paralysis of facial muscles may occur. In the latter stages, symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome may develop.




Initial symptoms occur almost immediately though frequently remain dormant for many months when more serious symptoms kick in. Given the latent period between the initial bite and the second stage symptoms, treating physicians have difficulty in making a firm diagnosis.