Brain-damaging infectious disease spread by ticks reaches UK for first time

The tick-borne encephalitis virus is already present in mainland Europe and parts of Asia


An infectious disease that can damage the brain and is spread to humans by tick bites has been identified in the UK for the first time.

Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed the presence of the tick-borne encephalitis virus in Thetford Forest, Norfolk and on the HampshireDorset border.

While the PHE says the risk is “very low”, it is investigating how common the infected ticks might be.

The small parasitic arachnids are becoming more common in parts of the UK, mainly due to increasing deer numbers.

Ticks can also live in undergrowth and latch onto humans when walking through undergrowth and long grass.

Ticks can also carry other diseases, including Lyme disease.

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