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Three UK Patients Contract Fatal Tick Virus


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Health officials have warned that the deadly infection, spread by tick bites, has been detected for the first time in several parts of the UK.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed three cases of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) infection in patients in Yorkshire, Norfolk and on the Dorset-Hampshire border.

Further tick tests across the country showed that the disease, which has hitherto been most prevalent in parts of Europe and Asia, is now circulating in the UK, where experts have warned that “TBEV is unlikely to go away.”

A surveillance program was set up, with the NHS requiring that samples from suspected cases be sent to the UKHSA.

Public health officials say the risk is low but urge pedestrians to take precautions and seek medical attention if they become ill after being bitten.

UKSA’s Dr Helen Calabi said: “While the risk to the general public is very low, it is important that people take precautions to protect themselves from tick bites, such as covering their ankles and legs, using insect repellant and checking clothing. and body for ticks, especially when in contact with ticks. Visiting areas with tall grass, such as forests, swamps and gardens.

The virus usually causes mild flu-like symptoms, but can lead to severe central nervous system infections such as meningitis or encephalitis.

More severe cases may include high fever with headache, neck stiffness, confusion, or altered consciousness.

It is believed that infected ticks may have been brought to the UK by migratory birds.

Scientists suspected the virus entered the UK in 2019 after two cases, but testing difficulties mean this cannot be confirmed.

Now the first confirmed local case of TBEV has been identified in a man bitten by a tick in Yorkshire.

According to a study presented at the European Conference on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Copenhagen, Denmark, another potential human case has been identified in the Loch Erne region of Scotland.

Vaccines can provide protection, but only for a limited time, and there is no cure.

The virus occurs naturally in some ticks and is transmitted to humans by a bite (only if the tick is infected), usually on bare hands and feet while walking in bushes.

Source: Daily Mail

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