A virus carried by ticks, which is common in many parts of the world, is now present in the UK and health officials are reminding the public how to avoid bites from the tiny bugs.
They say the risk of tick-borne encephalitis is very low—only one person is confirmed to have been infected in England so far, last year. But the tick species which carries the virus is widespread in the UK. Most people do not develop symptoms but swelling to the brain is possible.
The UK Health Security Agency has recommended changes to testing in hospital so that any new cases can be picked up quickly.
Health officials say anyone who becomes unwell after a tick bite should see a GP. More serious symptoms to look out for include severe headache, stiff neck, unexplained seizure, sudden confusion and weakness in arms and legs.
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Source: BBC News, 5 April 2023