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Top 10 questions: Tick-borne encephalitis

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Ticks carry a variety of diseases Ticks carry a variety of diseases and can be found across Europe and Asia

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a human viral infectious disease involving the central nervous system. It occurs in eastern, central and northern European countries, and in northern China, Mongolia and the Russian Federation.1

Not to be confused with Lyme disease (which is caused by a bacteria), the virus is harboured in a variety of small mammals, domestic livestock and certain species of birds.

1 What is tick-borne encephalitis?

TBE is one of the world’s arboviruses; ie a virus that is transmitted in most cases through the bite of an infected insect, in this case, an infected tick.1 The virus is carried in the wild by a variety of animals, such as voles, sheep and deer, and is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick.

Ticks are found in forested areas, grassland, riverside meadows, marshland, parks and gardens.2 They tend to reside on ground-level vegetation, or on the underside of foliage, from where they can be brushed onto an unsuspecting individual. Less commonly, TBE can also be contracted through the consumption of infected, unpasteurised dairy products.3

2 How do you know you have TBE?

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