England: Tick-borne encephalitis virus reported for the first time in ticks

Ixodes ricinusImage  CDC

Ixodes ricinusImage CDC

Public Health England reports, the virus has been detected in a small number of ticks in Thetford Forest and an area on the border between Hampshire and Dorset.

A potentially fatal tick-borne disease has been detected in ticks in the United Kingdom for the first time, Public Health England (PHE) announced this week. They can also be found on cats, dogs, and urban foxes.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infections Service, Public Health England, said "The risk to the general public is now assessed to be very low". Thousands of Defense Department personnel and family members live in the area including Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall and other US -operated properties.

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is endemic in mainland Europe and Scandinavia, as well as Asia.

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Most people who suffer from encephalitis virus will have mild flu-like symptoms that are negligible but it can affect the central nervous system and brain which can be hazardous. Death can occur as a result of the disease, though mortality is rare.

Hassan says the Granite State has one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the country, with roughly 60 percent of adult blacklegged ticks in the state carrying the bacterium that causes Lyme. He also added that tick bites can be prevented by covering skin while walking outdoors, applying insect repellants and checking clothes.

English health officials also advise anyone feeling sick following a tick bite to contact a doctor or dial 111 for emergency services.

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