A man receiving treatment for Lyme disease in Epsom and Ewell is helping lead a transatlantic campaign to raise awareness about its debilitating impact.

Demetrios Loukas, 50, has been joined by health professionals and artists championing the Fight Lyme Now campaign that hopes to increase public knowledge about the disease and encourage greater support for those living with it amid Lyme Disease Awareness Month this May

The former south west London primary school teacher contracted the disease when he was bitten by a tick during a school outing in 2005.

Yet it took years for Demetrios to be diagnosed with Lyme disease, the symptoms of which can last indefinitely if they are not treated early.

"Lyme disease is a multi-system infection, and it literally broke me," he said.

"It’s affected so many of my organs and body systems, including my heart, brain, gut, vision, hearing as well as my immune, respiratory, endocrine, urogenital and musculoskeletal systems, and this list isn't even exhaustive.

"It disabled me physically, emotionally and spiritually; that's how bad it is."

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be caught if you are bitten by a tick infected with the disease.

Common symptoms include circular red rashes where the bite happened, plus various flu-like symptoms.

As Demetrios pointed out, however, those symptoms can develop into much more serious health problems.

Rather than let the disease win outright, the former school teacher is choosing to fight back and is involved in a number of projects including the Fight Lyme Now campaign that calls for greater recognition from health authorities about the debilitating impact of Lyme disease.

Another of the projects is a remarkable music endeavour called Square Halo whose debut album sounds the alarm on Lyme disease and features several US-based artists including Producer Treyvonce Ambers-Moore, Rapper Malik Curtis (AKA Juice Lord) and Guitarist Adam Law.

"Demetrios has somehow flipped his mental personal experience with the disease by writing songs of hope which encourage an optimistic approach to life.

"My hope is that our songs will positively impact everyone including those who also suffer from the disease," Treyvonce said, while Curtis said he was "proud" to have contributed to the awareness-raising record.

Campaigners argue that one of the best ways to support Lyme disease sufferers is to improve recognition and support for their long-term symptoms.

Yet there is ongoing debate in the medical discipline about recognizing what campaigners and sufferers like Demetrios call "chronic" Lyme disease.

"It appears that the everyday approach to chronic Lyme disease is not sufficient," the Fight Lyme Now campaign's GP lead Dr. Michael Wetzler said.

"Tests in the UK are possibly not as accurate as tests in Germany and the US.

"Also, chronic Lyme disease is not fully recognised as a possible cause of chronic fatigue and other symptom complexes of unknown origin," he pointed out.

For more information on the Fight Lyme Now campaign, click here, or here to listen to Square Halo's The Lyme Years album.