First human case of potentially deadly tick infection confirmed in UK – signs to look for

The first human case of a potentially fatal tick infection has been confirmed in the UK. Doctors say the first domestically acquired case of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) has been identified in a man who was bitten by ticks in Yorkshire last year. And another probable human case has also been discovered in the Loch Earn area of ​​Scotland.

While the risk of TBEV is currently very low, experts have warned that the species of tick that carries the virus is widespread in the UK.

Many people with TBEV do not develop symptoms. However, others experience side effects such as fever, vomiting, confusion, seizures, and even swelling in the brain.

Both cases are described in new research due to be presented later this month at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Denmark.

The study by Dr. Helen Callaby from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirms that TBEV is now present in the UK.

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She said: “This study confirms that tick-borne encephalitis virus is present in parts of the UK where there are relevant tick and wildlife populations and can occasionally cause disease in humans.”

As a result, the UKSHA has recommended changes to how hospitals are tested so that any new cases can be taken on board quickly.

And increased surveillance of the virus is now being carried out in England and Scotland.

“Physicians should consider the possibility of tick-borne encephalitis virus when presenting patients with unexplained encephalitis and a history of tick exposure, even if they have not traveled outside the UK, as clinicians did in these cases,” said dr Callaby.

Symptoms of TBEV

TBEV causes a range of diseases, from a completely asymptomatic infection to a mild flu-like illness to severe central nervous system infections such as meningitis or encephalitis.

Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomit
  • neck stiffness
  • confusion
  • Reduced consciousness
  • loss of coordination
  • difficulty speaking
  • weakness of the arms or legs
  • seizures.

How to protect yourself

dr Callaby said: “Although the risk to the general public is very low, it is important that people take precautions to protect themselves from tick bites, such as wearing For example, cover their ankles and legs, apply insect repellent, and check clothing and body for ticks, especially when visiting areas of tall grass such as forests, bogs, and parks.”

How to remove ticks:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool
  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible
  • Slowly pull up, being careful not to pinch or pinch the tick and discard once removed
  • Clean the bite with an antiseptic or soap and water.

Source: | This article first appeared on First human case of potentially deadly tick infection confirmed in UK – signs to look for

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