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School sealed off to protect pupils from dangerous ticks

Murthly Primary School
Murthly Primary School

A rural Perthshire school has been forced to shut down part of its grounds after an apparent infestation of tiny ticks.

Parents demanded action to protect Murthly Primary pupils from potentially deadly lyme disease after at least one youngster came home covered in bites.

The school has now agreed to block off an area leading to neighbouring woodland.

Letters have been sent home to mums and dads, warning them to be extra vigilant.

It is believed the ticks are coming from an unusually high number of deer in the surrounding woods.

One local woman, who asked not be named, said her granddaughter returned from lessons “covered by tick bites”.

“They look like raised beauty spots on the skin,” she said.

There are worries, she said, that the ticks could be infected with lyme disease.

The small spider-like creatures are known to spread the bacterial infection through their bites. If not treated swiftly, the disease can have lasting effects and is potentially fatal.

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesman said: “Access to a neighbouring woodland area behind Murthly Primary School was closed due to concerns raised regarding children coming into contact with ticks.

“Pupils can continue to play in the school’s playground at break-times, and nursery children can continue to play in the nursery garden,” he said.

“The school sent an email to parents on Tuesday to advise them there were ticks in the vicinity of the playground and to ask that they be vigilant in checking their children for ticks.”

The school’s swift action was praised by local councillor Grant Laing.

He said: “I think the school has done the right thing in taking this sensible precautionary decision.

“When you are out and about walking in the countryside when ticks are prevalent it is advisable for people to be well clothed.”

He added: “Children in school uniform would be more susceptible with bare skin for ticks to attach themselves.”

Mr Laing said he was aware there were deer within the area of the school which are hosts to ticks and said the problem was particularly bad this year.

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