For the first time in ticks in the UK, an infectious disease that can damage the brain and spread to people through tick bites has been reported.
Public Health England (PHE) says it confirmed cases of tick-borne encephalitis virus in ticks from two parts of England-Thetford Forest and an area on the border between Hampshire and Dorset.
PHE says the risk is still “very low” for people.
The situation is monitored to check how common the infected ticks are.
A tick is a tiny creature like a spider living in undergrowth and on animals, including deer and dogs.
People who spend time walking in rural areas where they can encounter infected ticks are at risk of getting bitten or catching diseases that they are carrying.
In mainland Europe and Scandinavia, as well as Asia, tick-borne encephalitis virus is already circulating.
Evidence now shows it reached the United Kingdom.
How it got here is less clear. Experts say that infected ticks on migratory birds may have hitched a ride.
Public Health England says, a European visitor who has since recovered became ill after being bitten by a tick. Earlier this year, in the New Forest area,
Further investigation revealed the presence of infected ticks at two sites in England.
Public Health England’s Dr. Nick Phin said: ‘These are early research findings and indicate the need for further work. However, the risk to the general public is currently assessed to be very low.”
There will be no or only mild flu-like symptoms in most people who catch the virus. But the disease may progress to affect the brain and central nervous system and can sometimes be fatal.
Ticks can also carry other diseases, including Lyme disease that can make people ill.
Ticks feed on the blood of animals and human.
They can’t jump or run, so they living in the greenery, wait for an animal or a person to climb.


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