The news was last night welcomed by Highland sufferer and campaigner Morven-May MacCallum, as well as shadow health minister and north MSP David Stewart.
The city’s Raigmore Hospital is to be designated as the Lyme Disease Reference Laboratory for Scotland – bringing with it over £350,000 of extra investment for staffing and equipment.
This will allow further dedicated research and new tests to be carried out by its microbiology team into the disease, which is causing increasing concern across Europe and is particularly prolific in the Highlands and Islands.
There is estimated to around 3,000 new cases reported in the UK each year.
Highlands and Islands regional MSP and shadow health minister David Stewart said: “This is excellent news for NHS Highland and in particular the Raigmore microbiology team who have led on this issue for 15 years, while working with other partners.
“To be recognised as the Lyme Disease Reference Laboratory for Scotland is a huge accolade and obviously evidences the hard work, endeavour and dedication of all those involved in this work within NHS Highland.
“The work will help us then gain a better understanding of this infection which is of increasing concern.”
Morven-May MacCallum, 24, of Tore on the Black Isle, said: “It is fantastic. I am really pleased to see there is more funding being put into research into a disease few people know about. It is really desperately needed.
“Hopefully this is a stepping stone to more being done to raise much-needed awareness and funding into Lyme Disease.
“This is highly significant because at the moment very little is being done to highlight the serious effects of the condition on people. It is such a huge issue.”