OUR head of farmland ecology appeared on BBC Countryfile Autumn Diaries to provide an expert view on the factors surrounding a rise in Lyme disease.
Professor John Holland, who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary with the Trust, was interviewed in Ashton Court Estate, Bristol, by presenter Jules Hudson in the first episode of the new series.
Professor Holland was specifically asked about the correlation between deer and ticks as the show featured England Rugby World Cup winner Matt Dawson, who was bitten by a tick carrying the poisonous bacteria Borrelia in the summer. He suffered such a severe reaction to the bacteria that eventually he needed to have heart surgery.
During the interview, Professor Holland spoke about how deer are important in the life cycle of the ticks and that they need this nutritious blood meal from a large mammal in order to mature their eggs.
He stressed: “Incidents of lyme disease are going up so there are more and more cases every year and also deer populations are one of the highest since records began.
“The ticks attach themselves to other animals by crawling up through the vegetation and then wait to be picked up.
“On average about one in 200 ticks may have some borrelia infection in them.”
The programme, which was broadcast on Monday (October 30) on BBC One, also investigated how deadly Lyme disease can be for dogs. Watch it here >