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Summary

  1. The Education Committee will take evidence from RICS and the Scottish Building Federation on school infrastructure
  2. Green MSP Mark Ruskell leads this afternoon's member's debate on National Clean Air Day 2017
  3. Portfolio questions focuses on education
  4. The Scottish government leads a debate on Scotland’s economy and opportunities for growth
  5. This will be followed by a series of Scottish parliamentary corporate body motions
  6. Tory MSP Alexander Burnett leads this evening's member's debate entitled 'Lyme Disease, The Need To Do More'

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight from Holyrood Live...

    Holyrood

    That ends our coverage of the Scottish Parliament for Wednesday 14 June 2017.

    We'll be back tomorrow morning at 9am with the Equalities and Human Rights Committee as it takes evidence on bullying and harassment of children and young people in schools.

    Have a good night.

  2. Funding for hill farmers important to keep sheep on Scotland's hills

    Maureen Watt

    Ms Watt says it is important to support hill farming because sheep act as a control of Lyme disease.

    The mental health minister says the sheep collect the ticks and that it is no coincidence that cases increased in 2006 and have stayed at similar rates since.

    She says this is when we moved to the Single Farm Payment and, due to the abandonment of hill farms, this resulted in there being less sheep on Scotland's hills.

    Ms Watt says that it is important to avoid further hill farm abandonment and the Scottish government have asked the UK government for guarantees on funding for hill farmers post-Brexit.

    She says the Scottish government are awaiting a reply on this.

  3. 'The more people talking about Lyme disease the better'

    Ms Watt says that it is equally important that awareness is raised amongst the public and there is work going into this.

    The mental health minister says "the more people talking about Lyme disease the better."

    She says the sub-group are looking at data to ensure there is the best possible surveillance information on the disease.

    Tory MSP John Scott intervenes to ask if there is any work ongoing on a vaccine.

    Ms Watt says she is not aware of any work on a vaccine.

  4. 'We must be sure health professionals know how to spot and treat the disease'

    Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt

    Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt says no one is being complacent about Lyme disease.

    She says it is an important issue and a complex disease.

    Ms Watt says there are many challenges being grappled with by Scotland and other countries.

    The mental health minister says, in terms of workforce education, "we must be sure health professionals know how to spot and treat the disease".

    She says work is going into raising awareness amongst health professionals.

  5. Lyme disease could hit epidemic proportions by 2028 if it keeps increasing at current rates

    Tory MSP Liam Kerr

    Tory MSP Liam Kerr says he know a bit about Lyme disease before today but not a lot.

    Mr Kerr says this could be at epidemic proportions by 2028 if it keeps increasing at current rates.

    The Tory MSP says it is vital that people are provided with knowledge and that doctors must be equipped to spot symptoms earlier.

  6. There is a balance to be struck between providing the information and scaring people

    Green MSP John Finnie

    Green MSP John Finnie says the symptoms of Lyme disease are often non specific and can overlap with other diseases.

    Mr Finnie says there is a balance to be struck between providing the information and scaring people.

    He says it is about providing the knowledge and about early intervention.

    The Green MSP says this disease knows no boundaries and collaborative working with other countries is important.

  7. Background: Lyme disease sufferer claims bee stings help control her symptoms

    Ingrid Watt says the bee sting therapy gives her more energy
    Image caption: Ingrid Watt says the bee sting therapy gives her more energy

    A woman with Lyme disease has claimed being stung by bees helps ease her symptoms.

    Ingrid Watt, 36, who grew up in Orkney and now lives in Inverness, believes she has had the disease, which be transmitted to humans by tick bites, since she was 18.

    Underlying health problems became worse five years ago and included reoccurring shingles and neurological issues.

    She believes properties in the bee venom help control her Lyme disease.

    Read more here.

  8. Perhaps a vaccination could be developed for those most at risk of this disease says Tory MSP

    Tory MSP John Scott

    Tory MSP John Scott says raising awareness of this disease is what this debate is succeeding in doing.

    Mr Scott says perhaps a vaccination could be developed for those most at risk of this disease.

    He says there would be a worldwide interest in such a vaccination.

  9. Background: 'How I was floored by a tick'

    Alan Little
    Image caption: Alan Little

    When Allan Little began to feel ill, he knew almost immediately what it was - Lyme Disease. But getting a medical diagnosis, and treatment, took a lot longer.

    Read his story here.

  10. GPs estimate that only 20-40% of cases are referred says Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth says early intervention is so crucial and that, if left untreated, it can lead to problems with the heart.

    Mr Smyth says Lyme disease is a growing problem in Scotland and GPs estimate that only 20-40% of cases are referred.

    The Labour MSP refers to two young boys near his area of Dumfries who contracted Lyme disease playing in a local park.

    He says one of the boys woke up and his face was paralysed before he was diagnosed with Lyme disease.

  11. Background: If you have been bitten

    Tick

    If you have been bitten:

    • Remove the tick as soon as possible - the safest way is to use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, or a tick removal tool
    • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, pull upwards slowly and firmly, as mouthparts left in the skin can cause a local infection
    • Once removed, apply antiseptic to the bite area, or wash with soap and water and keep an eye on it for several weeks for any changes
    • Contact your GP if you begin to feel unwell and remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick or have recently spent time outdoors
  12. 'Early intervention is essential'

    Tory MSP Donald Cameron

    Tory MSP Donald Cameron says Lyme disease affects the Uists more than any other part of Scotland.

    Mr Cameron says that the rash is often an early sign of Lyme disease, sometimes in the style of a bullseye.

    "Early intervention is essential," he says.

    The Highlands and Islands MSP says he makes a point of checking his young children every night for ticks, particularly in the summer if they have been out and about.

  13. Background: Why is Lyme disease so hard to diagnose?

    Video content

    Video caption: Why is Lyme disease so hard to diagnose?

    Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected ticks.

    It is estimated that up to 3,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed in England and Wales each year.

    Symptoms can include a distinctive rash, tiredness, muscle pain or headaches.

    The disease can be treated effectively if it is recognised early on, but diagnosis is difficult because so many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions such as chronic fatigue.

    Victoria Derbyshire reporter Nicola Beckford went to meet two women to find out what it is like living with the disease.

  14. Blood testing cannot be relied upon because the disease does not show up early in a lot of cases

    SNP MSP Maree Todd

    SNP MSP Maree Todd says she grew up in the Highlands where it is often described as "tick heaven".

    Ms Todd says if you do not check for ticks they can remain on the skin sucking blood for a few days before falling off.

    She says that this increases the risk of Lyme disease.

    The SNP MSP says blood testing cannot be relied upon because the disease does not show up early in a lot of cases.

  15. Background: Tick and Lyme disease awareness events for South Uist

    Advice on what to do to avoid ticks was given at one of the two planned events
    Image caption: Advice on what to do to avoid ticks was given at one of the two planned events

    Events raising awareness about the risk of ticks and Lyme disease were held in part of the Western Isles where problems with both were indentified.

    The incidence of Lyme disease on Uist was found to be far greater than that on neighbouring islands, according to figures gathered by BBC Gaelic News.

    The infection can be transmitted to humans through a bite from a tick.

    NHS Western Isles is to hold the events later this month at Stoneybridge Hall in South Uist.

  16. Background: Lyme disease on North Uist, South Uist and Benbecua

    Last year an investigation by BBC Alba suggested that over four years a total of 165 individuals on North Uist, South Uist and Benbecula were diagnosed with Lyme disease.

    In that same period, Lewis and Harris have recorded just one case and Barra three.

    The figures for incidence of Lyme disease on the Western Isles were provided by medical practices across the islands.

    NHS Western Isles and other groups have been investigating the reason for the higher numbers on Uist.

  17. Background: Lyme Disease UK

    Lyme Disease UK

    From the Lyme Disease UK website:

    "Welcome to Lyme Disease UK, a not-for-profit patient support network for Lyme disease sufferers and their loved ones around the United Kingdom.

    "On this site you will find information and news about Lyme disease as well as details regarding local face to face support groups.

    "The LDUK team also attends public events, meetings and conferences, liaises with other Lyme disease organisations and campaigns for an increase in knowledge and advancements in patient care."

  18. Backbground: Lyme Disease

    A tick bite
    Image caption: A tick bite

    Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected ticks.

    Flu-like symptoms and fatigue are often the first noticeable signs of infection. An untreated bite often shows as a distinctive red circle-like mark on a person's skin.

    Diagnosed cases of Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but, if left untreated, neurological problems and joint pain can develop months or years later.

    Ticks are small arthropods related to spiders, mites and scorpions and Britain has a number of different species.

    People are most likely to come across sheep ticks, which feed on mammals such as deer and also birds, in open spaces with long grass or bracken.

    Hillwalkers and climbers organisation, Mountaineering Scotland, regularly issues advice on how to avoid and deal with ticks.

    It suggests people can protect themselves better by tucking trousers into socks or wearing gaiters, and also by making thorough checks of their bodies once back home. It recommends that these checks should be repeated over several days.

    If a tick is found attached to a person's skin, it can be removed with a tick hook. If in doubt, seek advice from a doctor, Mountaineering Scotland says.

  19. Tory MSP calls for public education on the dangers of tick bites

    Ticks sign

    Mr Burnett uses his motion to say Lyme disease is affecting many people across Scotland.

    The Tory MSP says there is a lack of awareness and education to prevent further infections in 2017.

    He also calls for the issues surrounding diagnosis and treatment to be explored further and for public education on the dangers of tick bites.

    Dcotors should become better informed so that patients are not left undiagnosed, says Mr Burnett and he expresses his support for Lyme Disease UK’s campaign to help increase awareness of this disease.

  20. 'Devastating disease' silently affecting thousands of people across the UK

    Tory MSP Alexander Burnett

    Tory MSP Alexander Burnett says Lyme disease is a "devastating disease" silently affecting thousands of people across the UK.

    Mr Burnett says this disease is the most common tick related disease in the northern hemisphere and that people can live for years with the symptoms.

    The Tory MSP says, if not treated correctly, serious implications can occur yeas after being bitten.

    He says all mediums promoting our outdoor areas must give information on ticks and that it is vital that people know how to protect themselves.

    Mr Burnett says there is a 65% increase in Lyme disease cases every year worldwide.