A HEALTH warning about a bloodsucking bug has been issued to ramblers, mountain bikers and campers by the country’s infectious diseases watchdog.
The Health Surveillance Protection Centre has put out the warning about a tiny tick that causes Lyme disease by biting into the skin.
Dr Paul McKeown of the centre explains that while most symptoms of the disease are quite mild, in rare cases complications can develop.
These include inflammation of the heart muscle, joint swelling, weakness of the nervous system, numbness and eye pain.
Up to 100 people become infected each year by the blood-sucking bug.
Dr McKeown advises anyone pursuing outdoor activities to wear long trousers, long-sleeved shirts and shoes.
They should also use insect repellent and check skinfolds and hair for signs of ticks after a day out.
This is particularly important for children.
Ticks should be removed with a tweezers and the skin washed with soap and water.
The area should be checked over the next few weeks for swelling or redness.
Dr McKeown says where a rash develops the person should consult a doctor.
He explains that infection is quite rare and “if a tick is removed within a few hours, the risk of infection is low”.