PHE calls for people to be tick aware as the first case of a babesiosis is diagnosed in England.
Public Health England (PHE) can confirm the diagnosis of a case of babesiosis and a probable case of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in England. This is the first record of a UK-acquired case of babesiosis and the second case of TBE being acquired in the UK.
Babesiosis is caused by a parasite which infects red blood cells whilst TBE is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system. Both are rare infections spread by the bite from an infected tick.
Both patients have been transferred to hospital, where they are receiving appropriate treatment and supportive care.
It is important to ‘be tick aware’ and take precautions to reduce your risk of being bitten by ticks when enjoying green spaces this summer including:
- keeping to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking
- wearing appropriate clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, and trousers tucked into your socks makes it less likely that a tick will bite and attach
- considering the use of repellents containing DEET
- making it a habit to carry out a tick check regularly when you’re outdoors and when you get home
- if you have been bitten by a tick, it should be removed as soon as possible using fine tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool which is sold by many outdoor stores, vets and pharmacies. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upwards slowly and firmly. Once removed, wash your skin with water and soap, and apply an antiseptic cream to the skin around the bite
- contact your GP promptly if you begin to feel unwell, remembering to tell them you were bitten by a tick or recently spent time outdoors