By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

UK health officials have detected Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in ticks in two areas of England. This is the first time the virus has been detected in ticks in the UK.

Ixodes ricinus

Public Health England reports, the virus has been detected in a small number of ticks in Thetford Forest and an area on the border between Hampshire and Dorset.

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 (TBE).

To date, no other cases of TBE considered likely to have been acquired in the UK have been identified.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infections Service, Public Health England, said “The risk to the general public is currently assessed to be very low. Ticks carry a number of infections including Lyme disease, so we are reminding people to be ‘tick aware’ and take tick precautions, particularly when visiting or working in areas with long grass such as woodlands, moorlands and parks.”

Most people who catch TBE will not have any symptoms – though it can cause flu-like symptoms, and in a small number of cases can progress to more serious disease involving the central nervous system.

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is endemic in mainland Europe and Scandinavia, as well as Asia.