Hard ticks are the type of arachnids that transmit TBE. Ticks become infected with the virus when they bite contaminated vertebrate hosts, specifically small rodents like mice and voles. When ticks get infected, they can transmit the virus on their next blood meal. When the virus is passed on to humans through tick bites, they become dead-end hosts and cannot spread it through human-to-human contact. A majority of recorded TBE infections in humans come as a result of ticks being tightly attached to the skin for several days.
In rare cases, human infection may arise from consuming unpasteurised milk or cheese from infected animals like cows, goats, or sheep.
Ticks that carry the TBE virus are primarily found in woodlands. However, they can also inhabit other grassy areas like parks or gardens in certain regions in Asia like China, Japan, and Europe, including the UK. Therefore, tick bite prevention includes the following:
● Being wary of the outside. Engaging in outdoor activities like hunting, camping, hiking, and even gardening can put you in close contact with infected ticks. Steer clear of areas with high or bushy grass to avoid exposure to ticks by walking on clear trails.
● Using insect repellent. Adults can apply a safe product containing DEET or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus to help ward off pesky ticks. However, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is not advisable for children under 3.
● Wearing protective clothing. Putting on long trousers and long-sleeved shirts will make it harder for ticks to get into contact with your skin.
● Showering after spending time outside. Taking a shower can reduce the chances of getting tick-borne encephalitis. Showers are also a good time to do a body check to ensure no ticks are attached to your skin.
● Conducting a tick check after outdoor activities. Examine possible tick-infested areas of the body, such as: in and around your hair and ears, under your arms, inside your navel, back of your knees, around your waist, and between your legs.
● Eating or drinking only pasteurised dairy products.
Vaccination remains the most effective and recommended way to prevent infection, especially for those expecting to travel to endemic areas. Two doses of the vaccine can give ample protection, with the first dose administered at least one month before you travel. A third dose, however, can provide immunity that can last up to three years.
Anna Pharmacy is one of the leading providers of tick-borne encephalitis vaccine in Sutton. So book an appointment today and get protect yourself and loved ones.