Around 300 people are taking legal action against health authorities alleging they have not been able to access healthcare for Lyme disease due to what they claim are faulty diagnostic methods.
Although relatively rare, Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks, which can easily bite adults and children if they are disturbed in humid forests, woods, or undergrowth. The first sign is often an expanding red rash around the bite about a week afterwards. There may also be fever, headache and tiredness.
Joint pain and severe headaches may follow months or even years later.
In France the first line of diagnosis is a blood test called the Elisa test. Only if this gives a positive result is it backed up by a further test, the Western Blot.
One of those taking legal action told website allodocteurs.fr she had not had a positive result in the first test, but did in the second (her doctor had agreed to do both).
The complainants’ lawyer Julien Fouray is demanding that his clients receive care and compensation, saying that lack of diagnosis or late diagnoses has caused them unnecessary suffering.
Connexion reader, Sally Barnes, told us last year how she developed symptoms after being bitten in the Lucq-de-Béarn area in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques in summer 2016. At first she said she had a ‘classic really vivid bullseye mark’, and a doctor in Mauritius where she lives treated her with a course of doxycycline, identifying the disease on sight alone.
However she developed fatigue and aches a year later in summer 2017. People going walking in forests are advised to wear skin-covering clothes and closed shoes to avoid being bitten.