What is TICKALERT?
The Tick Alert campaign aims to raise awareness of tick-borne diseases both at home and abroad. Tick Alert warns UK holidaymakers and travellers to be aware of the infections that ticks can cause, including Lyme disease which is prevalent in the UK and Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE) in mainland Europe.
Why should I worry about ticks?
Ticks are second only to mosquitoes for carrying disease to humans. Changes in farming practices and global warming mean that there are more ticks in the countryside in many parts of the UK and Europe.
Diseases are contracted from the bite of infected ticks. The primary illnesses to be aware of are Lyme disease in the UK and Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE), which is potentially fatal and currently endemic in 27 countries in mainland Europe, including many established and new holiday destinations for outdoor tourism.
Travellers and holidaymakers visiting rural areas are at risk from tick bites, but also when spending time in public spaces including beer gardens, picnic spots and parks and gardens. High risk groups are those participating in camping, hiking/trekking, cycling, climbing and other outdoor activities and pursuits.
So if you are visiting any area where there are ticks, especially TBE endemic countries, make sure you know about bite prevention, how to look out for the early symptoms and remember to seek advice well before your travel date.
"Climate change in central Europe means that many areas will have higher than average temperatures and more rain. Higher rainfall is a favourable factor for disease-carrying ticks and as a consequence the risk of getting an infectious tick bite will rise in many areas."
Professor Jochen Süss, National Reference Laboratory for Tick-borne Diseases, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Jena, Germany and member of the ISW (January 2008).