First cases of rare tick-borne disease recorded in UK

WION Web Team London, London, UK (Great Britain) Aug 01, 2020, 10.43 AM(IST)

Ticks can be deadly Photograph:( AFP )

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Babesiosis is caused by a parasite that infects red blood cells, while TBE is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system.

A person was hospitalised after being diagnosed with babesiosis, the UK’s first case of the rare tick-borne disease.

A second person was taken to hospital with a probable case of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), according to Public Health England.

Babesiosis is caused by a parasite that infects red blood cells, while TBE is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system.

Most people with babesiosis will have either no symptoms or mild symptoms of infection, but people with weakened immune systems can become very ill and present with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle ache, fatigue and jaundice.

About two-thirds of people with TBE infections will have no symptoms, and, for those who develop symptoms, a first phase is associated with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache and fatigue, which can then progress to a more serious second phase.

The second phase involves the central nervous system, which can lead to meningitis, encephalitis and paralysis.

The risk of babesiosis or TBE for the general public is low, but a number of infections can develop following a tick bite, including Lyme disease, and there are measures people can take to reduce the risk of being bitten by ticks.

PHE said it was important to “be tick-aware” and take precautions such as keeping to footpaths and avoiding long grass, wearing appropriate clothing, considering the use of repellents containing Deet, and making it a habit to carry out a “tick check”.