Be Tick Aware

The better weather, longer daylight hours and getting out of doors is always good for your health and wellbeing. Whilst that is something all aspects of the coming months are to be pleased about, it is also a time to be more aware of ticks.

Dog owners need to be particularly aware of checking their pets over for ticks that they may have picked up, especially in long grass, when out walking.

You can find out more about how to treat and prevent your dog from ticks here: Ticks on dogs PDSA

The warnings about ticks apply to humans too.

Last year there was a report of a probable human case of tick-borne encephalitis likely to have been acquired in the Loch Earn area of Scotland.

 Tick-borne encephalitis occurs across the world, including many parts of Europe. No other cases of confirmed or probable tick-borne encephalitis virus infection likely to have been acquired in Scotland have been identified. Tick-borne encephalitis virus infection (including imported cases) is very rare in people in the UK, although it has been confirmed in ticks in three locations in England since 2019.

The risk of acquiring the tick-borne encephalitis virus infection in Scotland is currently assessed as very low for the general population and at the current time believed to be restricted to this small geographic area in Scotland.

More information about ticks, including prevention and removal is available on the NHS Inform website.

Dr Nick Phin, Director of Public Health Science and Medical Director at Public Health Scotland, said:

“While the risk of acquiring tick-borne encephalitis in Scotland is very low, we know that ticks can cause other infections, such as Lyme disease.

“We would encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the steps we can all take to avoid bugs and germs outdoors. This is particularly important as Spring approaches, and we begin to spend more time outdoors. Being tick aware, trying to avoid being bitten by ticks and removing any ticks that do bite as quickly as possible, are all important precautions.”

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  1. For decades there has been the option to receive the FSME (that’s the name for the tick-borne encephalitis in Germany, Austria etc.) vaccine. Tried, tested, safe and efficient for decades. It was pretty clear that spread of the disease northwards could be expected in a climate change context.
    Still, when my own booster was due in 2014, the vaccine was not even available privately in the UK.
    It is about time that this changes.
    Whilst there is no vaccine against Lyme disease, at least the tick-borne encephalitis can easily be prevented by existing vaccines.
    However, after Brexit, I fear that we do not learn lessons from continental Europe and use vaccines which have been in safe use for many years… will we instead waste time and money to go through a new (and not necessary) “own” process of licensing, if we make it at all available to the British public?

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