Norwegians suffering from what they believe is Borrelia infection caused by the bite of a tick (called flått in Norwegian) gathered outside the Norwegian Parliament on Friday to appeal for better treatment. They claim local doctors don’t take their ailments seriously, and don’t have enough treatment expertise.
Among those speaking and confronting politicians was local author and TV celebrity Lars Monsen, best known for his programs about rugged life outdoors. He has harshly criticized what he claims was inadequate treatment after a tick bite, and that he felt doctors weren’t listening to him.
“We need help now,” yelled the demonstrators, many of whom appeared on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)’s national nightly news program Dagsrevy to describe their symptoms and complain. Monsen claimed Norwegian health authorities aren’t doing enough to chart the numbers falling ill after tick bites, and believes that’s the reason for the relatively low official numbers of people ill with Borrelia infections or Lyme disease.
One leading Norwegian epidemiologist, Dr Preben Aavitsland, rejected the demonstrators’ complaints and maintains there is no “tick epidemic” in Norway. He suggested it’s easier for many ill patients to hope they’ve been bitten by a tick and can be cured with antibiotics, than to accept that they instead have other ailments such as a neurological disorder.