Authors: Martha Powell, Future Science Group
Public Health England (London, UK) has confirmed the presence of tick-borne encephalitis virus in the UK for the first time. The virus was identified in two parts of the UK – Thetford forest and an area on the Dorset–Hampshire border.
Earlier this year a European visitor became ill after being bitten by a tick in the New Forest area. This is considered to be a highly probable case of tick-borne encephalitis. To-date no other cases of tick-borne encephalitis have been reported, and in light of this the authority stated that the risk to the general public is still “very low”. Public Health England is monitoring the situation understand how common infected ticks might be and what the distribution is.
Most individuals who are infected with tick-borne encephalitis virus will present with no or mild flu-like symptoms, however, in some cases the disease can impact the central nervous system and can be fatal.