DCD – No need to warn about travel abroad after case of Lyme disease in Thailand

(Photo) Disease Control Department (DCD) director-general Dr. Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, Ministry of Public Health

There is no need for a travel advisory to be issued to warn Thai people against travelling abroad after the discovery of the first case of Lyme disease in Thailand, said Disease Control Department (DCD) director-general Dr. Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen on Monday.

Dr. Suwanchai’s comment was in response to a Facebook post by Dr. Manoon Leechawengwong revealing that a Thai lady, aged 47, had contracted Lyme disease, caused by the Borrelia bacteria, while on an overseas trip in Turkey.

He said that Lyme borreliosis is not a new disease, but Thai people are not familiar with it because the disease usually occurs abroad and is transferred by ticks carried by dogs, horses, deer, cattle and mice.  When the infected animals are bitten by the tick and the tick then bites a human, the bacteria can be transferred.

However, Dr. Suwanchai admitted that Lyme disease is not easy to diagnose because Thai doctors are not familiar with it and blood tests are needed to confirm whether a patient is infected.

He suggested that any Thai who has returned from abroad, and has a high fever and an expanding area of redness on the skin at the site of a bite, should immediately see a doctor for examination. The rash is not itchy or painful. Other symptoms may include fever, headache and tiredness. If untreated, symptoms may include loss of ability to move one or both sides of the face, joint pains and severe headaches with neck stiffness.

The disease is treated with antibiotics.



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