Thousands of North West outdoor enthusiasts may be heading for European holidays without realising that they could be in danger of a deadly tick disease.
The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) Pre Travel Clinic is supporting a national campaign to make travellers to European destinations more aware of Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE), now endemic in 27 European countries. It is contracted by the bite of an infected tick with about one in 30 cases proving fatal. Walkers, campers, cyclists and climbers are particularly at risk as TBE infected ticks are usually found in rural and forest areas from late spring and throughout the summer.
LSTM Pre Travel Clinic advises around 9,000 travellers a year. Dr Lisa Ford from the clinic said that most travellers to tick-endemic countries in Europe are unaware of the danger: “Research by the Tick Alert Health campaign shows that while 78 per cent of travellers had heard of the disease, only 1 in 5 sought protection on previous travels and two-thirds didn’t know they needed to take precautions.”
The disease can lead to meningitis and, in serious cases, even paralysis and death. It is now endemic in 27 countries across mainland Europe, including many destinations that are growing in popularity such as Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. The danger has also spread to more established holiday destinations such as Italy, Switzerland, Greece and France.
Dr Ford advises travellers to take appropriate measures to protect themselves. “Vaccination is available at LSTM and other travel clinics if arranged in advance. Outdoor enthusiasts should also use an insect repellent, cover up areas of exposed skin by wearing trousers tucked into their socks, wear long-sleeved clothing and check themselves at the end of each day for ticks, carefully removing any found.”
The disease can also be transmitted by drinking unpasteurised milk which should be avoided. It is estimated that there are over 10,000 cases of TBE each year in endemic countries where every contact with grass or bushes is potentially dangerous.
The LSTM Pre Travel Clinic in Pembroke Place is open 9am-12pm, Monday to Friday. Afternoon appointments can also be made by phoning 0151 708 9393. Further information on TBE can be found atwww.NaTHNac.org/travel/index.htm
For further information, please contact:
|Eileen Taylor, Press Officer
Office: +44 (0)151 705 3176 / 01704 876024
Mobile : +44 (0)7786 613604
|Alan Hughes, Communications Manager
Office: +44 (0)151 705 3308
Mobile: +44 (0)7759 243969