Warning for people to be tick aware after probable Hampshire case of encephalitis

PUBLIC Health England have warned for people to be tick aware after a probable case of tick-borne encephalitis in Hampshire.

It is the second case of TBE, a viral infection that affects the central nervous system, being acquired in the UK.

The patient has been taken to hospital to receive care.

A case of babesiosis, caused by a parasite which infects red blood cells, has also been diagnosed in Devon.

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Dr Katherine Russell, Consultant in the emerging infections and zoonoses team at PHE, said: ‘It is important to emphasise that cases of babesiosis and TBE in England are rare and the risk of being infected remains very low. Lyme disease remains the most common tick-borne infection in England.

‘Ticks are most active between spring and autumn, so it is sensible to take some precautions to avoid being bitten when enjoying the outdoors. Seek medical advice if you start to feel unwell after a tick bite.’

PHE has tested deer blood samples from Hampshire in areas near to where the person with probable TBE lives and they have shown evidence of likely TBE virus infection, which matches similar results found in 2019.

It has also surveyed sites in Devon close to where the person with babesiosis lives, collecting and testing hundreds of ticks – all tested negative for the parasite which causes babesiosis.