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Tick Alert campaign aimed at walkers

The Tick Alert campaign aims to raise awareness of tick born diseases in Britain and abroad, particularly amongst walkers and those who participate in outdoor activities.

Tick Borne Encephalitis and Lyme’s Disease, potentially fatal tick diseases, are now endemic in 27 European countries. The disease can lead to meningitis and in serious cases result in paralysis and death. TBE-infested ticks are found in rural and forest areas from late spring and throught summer.

Ticks live in the soil and emerge to climb tall grass, bracken and bushes and up to a height of 20cm-70cm in search of a blood host. They attach when people or animals brush past and look for an area of soft skin to insert their feeding organ and suck blood, which is when disease is transmitted.

Ticks can attach themselves almost anywhere on the body, but prefer creases like the armpit, groin and back of the knee. Victims do not feel the bite because the tick also injects a toxin that anaesthetises the bite area.

Advice on protecting against tick bites includes not wearing shorts, using a tick-effective insect repellent, and inspecting skin and removing ticks as soon as they are detected. Further advice and maps of infested areas may be found on the Tick Alert web site.