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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-  1 May 2006

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HOLIDAYMAKERS AT RISK OF DEADLY EUROPEAN VIRUS

TENS of thousands of holidaymakers from the region heading for Europe this summer are being warned of a potentially life threatening disease.  Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE) that can lead to meningitis and in serious cases result in paralysis and death, with about 1 in 30 cases proving fatal. TBE is now endemic in 16 established and emerging holiday hotspots.

Figures from the Civil Aviation Authority show that over 115,000 holidaymakers flew from Liverpool airport to TBE endemic countries last summer. Now the Tick Alert campaign is launching Tick Awareness Week, which runs from 8 May to 14 May 2006, to highlight the dangers of infections that ticks can cause including TBE abroad and Lyme disease in the UK. The chances of being bitten are greater as global warming increases the number of ticks in the countryside.

TBE at risk groups include all visitors to rural areas of endemic countries, particularly those participating in outdoor activities such as trekking, hiking, climbing, cycling and camping, popular pursuits on family and active holidays, who have not taken bite prevention precautions. It is estimated that there are over 3,000 cases of TBE each year in endemic countries.

Central and eastern Europe is fast becoming a popular family and active holiday destination with UK visitors to Hungary up by 47% in the summer of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004. Similarly visitors to Poland rose by 92%.

Tick diseases are not only found abroad. Families planning camping and activity holidays in rural areas of the UK are being urged to protect themselves against Lyme disease which is estimated to affect up to 2,000 people a year.

The Foreign Office advises that visitors to TBE endemic regions seek advice from their local surgery or clinic, well before travelling.  Further information on the endemic regions of Europe and latest advice for travellers is available at www.masta.org/tickalert.

Car driving standards and guzzling 4x4’s slammed…

SHOCK figures released this week show that 67% of car drivers would like to see people who ‘tailgate’ recycled, while 46% of those questioned, wanted to see middle lane drivers turned into something useful!  In addition, 58% of people wanted to see MOT failures destroyed, while 35% of drivers over the age of 55 wanted all 4x4’s crushed, according to a survey published by recycleyourcar.co.uk.  

The survey was conducted to coincide with the launch of the reycycleyourcar.co.uk which is an initiative, designed to aid drivers find their nearest Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF). The End of Life Vehicles Directive (ELV) has recently come into force in the UK, stating that ELVs can only be processed by ATFs.

There were some interesting anomalies, highlighted by the poll, between the sexes. Men were 3 times more likely than women to know how many cars the UK disposed of. The regions also saw differences of opinion. Those from the South West were twice as likely to know that an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) was the best place to dispose of a vehicle, than the rest of the country put together.  Elsewhere, over half of Midland drivers questioned wanted to crush ‘souped up’ cars, or ‘chav’ cars as one respondent put it. In the East of the country, this figure dropped to just over 10%. Yet, people in the East were almost 10 times more likely to want to crush flash supercars than people in the South.  And it seems that Midlanders are the most critical drivers. Of the people questioned by the survey, 82% of them wanted to see people who tailgate recycled. Drivers who use their beam lights inappropriately also came in for scorn from Midland drivers, with 56% admitting to a dislike of such road users, against a more stoic 12% in the South.

Recycleyourcar.co.uk’s Derek Campbell, is not surprised by results of the survey:- “People seem to be getting less and less tolerant of the behaviour and choices of others when it comes to matters of the road. Perhaps we all need to be just a little more tolerant. People need to be more aware, not only of the throwaway nature of modern society but also the best way to dispose of a vehicle.  And, finally, we’re not sure about the one person who, when asked where they would go to dispose of a vehicle, suggested he would get a friend to steal it, burn it and then claim it back on the insurance. Or the people who wanted to crush all French cars, or those who saw no use for Rover drivers, or pizza delivery boys.”

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