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Tick Borne Encephalitis What is Tick Borne Encephalitis?

Tick Borne Encephalitis is a viral disease spread via the bite of an infected tick. In some rare cases, it can also be spread through unpasturised milk derived from infected goats or cows. Ticks normally bite humans when they are simply walking through undergrowth or grasses, and are more likely to bite in warmer months such as August, or after a humid summer period. The infection lies within the system for up to a month before symptoms appear, such as a high fever, dropping and increasing at speedy intervals. Tick borne encephalitis can be fatal in some cases, and the death rates are highest in the elderly.

Who is at risk of Tick Borne Encephalitis?

Tick Borne Encephalitis is a risk for travellers going to endemic areas; that is: areas where infection exists at low rates. It is most common in areas of Eastern Europe, as well as some areas in China and Japan. In some parts of Asia in long grass regions, there is a tick infection rate of 5%.

How can I prevent Tick Borne Encephalitis?

There is currently a vaccination protecting against tick borne encephalitis, and although this is available to those considered at high risk, prevention should always be sought. Try to avoid areas where the infection is prevalent, and if you must go walking in undergrowth or similar areas, make sure you are suitably clothes with long sleeved shirts and full length trousers, tucked into socks for full protection. DEET can also be used as a repellent.

NB If a tick gets onto the skin, it should be removed using the correct technique of pulling it straight from the skin using tweezers or a similar instrument, not by twisting.

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