AN MP who is backing a campaign to raise awareness of Lyme Disease has visited a Yeadon-based insect repellent manufacturer.

Greg Mulholland, who represents Leeds North West, took a tour round the European HQ of Citrefine International.

The company, which has been operating for more than 20 years, exports to about 40 countries with its range of Mosi-guard Natural insect repellents and ingredient, Citriodiol, which is derived from the oil of Lemon Eucalyptus trees.

Mr Muholland looked round the company's head office, laboratory, warehouse and mail order facility.

"We were delighted to welcome Mr Mulholland MP at such an exciting time in Citrefine’s growth," said managing director Jacqueline Watson.

"The recent appointment of two new UK-based team members to support our global operations and work alongside our US subsidiary is a demonstration of our commitment to driving growth both in the UK and further afield."

The company says research undertaken over more than 20 years has shown Citriodiol based repellents to be as effective as DEET and highly effective against biting insects like mosquitoes and arthropods such as ticks.

"As more people become aware of Citriodiol as a credible alternative to synthetic repellents, demand is increasing – particularly in countries where Malaria, Dengue, West Nile, Chikungunya and Zika virus are present," Ms Watson said. "In the UK in particular, Lyme disease is a growing concern and we are delighted to support this campaign to raise awareness of tick bite prevention."

Mr Mulholland said: "I feel very proud that such a well known brand and one that is so widely exported and in demand the world over, is manufactured in my constituency. It is a privilege to celebrate companies like Citrefine who are not only leading the way in insect-borne disease prevention, but also helping to boost our economy with their export successes."

He added: "Closer to home, as an avid walker, raising awareness of tick-borne Lyme disease is very close to my heart. If it is detected early, a full recovery is usually made. However it can be a nasty disease with serious long-term effects if left untreated. That’s why it is vital that people know how to prevent tick bites in the first place and also know how to spot signs that they may have been bitten."

Around 3,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported in England and Wales every year. Caused by the Borrelia bacteria, it is transmitted by a bite from an infected tick, tiny spider-like creatures found in woodland and heath areas. Early symptoms can include a ‘bulls eye’ skin rash around the bite and ‘flu-like’ symptoms such as headache, weakness, muscle pain, fever and exhaustion.

More chronic effects can include memory loss, numbness and joint problems. There is currently no vaccine to prevent the disease.