Voice Cyprus News

Rare tick disease found in England, health officials say


A virus carried by ticks, which is common in many parts of the world, is now present in the UK and health officials are reminding the public how to avoid bites from the tiny bugs.

They say the risk of tick-borne encephalitis is very low – only one person is confirmed to have been infected in England so far, last year.

But the tick species which carries the virus is widespread in the UK.

Most people do not develop symptoms but swelling to the brain is possible.

The UK Health Security Agency has recommended changes to testing in hospital so that any new cases can be picked up quickly.

Enhanced surveillance for the virus is now being carried out in England and Scotland, where there is one probable case of tick-borne encephalitis.

Feed on blood

Ticks are small, spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of animals and people. They tend to be found in dense woodland or moorland and feed on deer.

While feeding, they can transmit viruses and infections that cause disease, with the most common being Lyme disease – a bacterial infection which can be treated with antibiotics.

Getting tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) from a tick is much less likely.

Dr Meera Chand, deputy director at the UK Health Security Agency, said it was “very uncommon in the UK” and the risk to the general population was “very low”.

How to avoid ticks:

  • walk on clearly marked paths to avoid brushing against vegetation
  • cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck trousers into socks
  • wear light-coloured clothes so ticks can be spotted and brushed off
  • use insect repellents such as DEET
  • check your clothes and body regularly for ticks, and your children and pets as well
  • adults are usually bitten on the legs, while children are usually bitten on the head or neck

How to remove ticks safely:

  • remove them as soon as possible
  • use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool
  • grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible
  • pull upwards slowly and firmly, as mouthparts left in the skin can cause infection
  • clean the bite area with antibacterial wash/soap and water, and monitor it for several weeks for any changes
  • contact your GP promptly if you begin to feel unwell with flu-like symptoms or develop a spreading circular red rash

Ticks infected with TBE virus have been found in a small number of areas in England, including Hampshire, Dorset and Norfolk, and, on rare occasions, people nearby may have been infected – but until now, no cases were confirmed.

In research being presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases next week, scientists report that TBE cases are on the rise in Europe with some 3,800 reported in 2020.

They speculate that infected ticks may have been brought into the UK by migratory birds because of climate change.

More serious symptoms to look out for include severe headache, stiff neck, unexplained seizure, sudden confusion and weakness in arms and legs.

Health officials are also testing for the presence of the virus in blood samples of people with no symptoms in parts of Yorkshire, where the confirmed case was infected.

(Source: BBC)

Related Posts
Putin promises to back North Korea in its position with the US

On Tuesday, as Vladimir Putin travelled to the nuclear-armed nation of North Korea for the first time in twenty-four years, Read more

Outdated rules for housing aid for refugees result in 25% of applications being denied

The House refugee committee heard testimony on Tuesday that the Displaced Persons Care and Rehabilitation Service rejects one-fourth of its Read more

Related posts

Problems are being experienced in production!

Night-Pharmacies (27th June 2023)

EU decries bans on Ukrainian grain imports imposed by Poland and Hungary

Voice İnternational

Karoullas “Volt seeks to bring to the Cypriot political scene a new political culture”

Kallis Antounas

Daily currency exchange rates (September 22th 2023)

Voice İnternational

Police investigate death of 27-year-old!