Councillors are calling for signs to be erected in the National Park to highlight the potential risk of Lyme Disease.

Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted by a bite from an infected tick carrying the bug. It is named after the town in Connecticut, USA where the first cases of the condition were identified.

The infection is generally mild, affecting only the skin, but can sometimes be more severe, leading to more serious illness and even death.

There have been an increased numbers of people suffering from the disease in the Killarney area according to  HSE figures. Eight of the 19 cases reported nationally to mid-December 2016 occurred in Kerry and Cork, figures released by the HSE show.

The issue is particularly relevant to Killarney National Park as deer are considered prime carriers of infected ticks.

“Due to the continued risk of Lyme Disease, I am requesting that in conjunction with the NPWS, that appropriate signage be erected at all entrances from public areas to Killarney National Park outlining advice on ticks and the necessary precautions and what to look out for,” said councillor Brendan Cronin at the Municipal District of Killarney members meeting on last week.

Kerry County Council is seeking advice from the HSE in relation to signs at the  entrance to the national park.  However, Kerry County Council is not the health body for the county. Last month the council placed Algae warning signs on the shores of some the park’s lakes in its capacity as the county’s environmental protection agency.

It is understood that the local branch of the National Park and Wild Life Service see the problem as a national one and placing such signs on the entrance of the park may deter people from entering and enjoying the natural amenities.

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