“2020 tick season could be a record year”: experts fear an outbreak of the TBE virus, this little-known yet deadly infection

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The risk of infection with tick-borne encephalitis is 50% higher this year than the same period last year.

This summer, the insects will be more out than in previous years. The reason ? The mild weather at the start of the year which favored their presence at the arrival of summer. Also involved, a mild winter followed by good weather accompanied by the need for humidity. And who says mass return of insects says presence of ticks more important than usual.

“Having been confined for many weeks also probably makes us want to spend more time in the wild. It could also justify a possible increase in the number of tick bites. Besides, professor and expert in ticks, Franz Rubel predicts that the 2020 season of ticks could be a record year ”, says Annick Mignon, Vaccines Medical Advisor at the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. While tick bites are most often harmless, however, they can sometimes cause the transmission of viruses and bacteria that cause disease in humans. Less known than Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is also a potentially fatal infection from ticks such as Ixodes that “attacks” the nervous systems and the symptoms of the disease depend on the ability of the virus to penetrate the central nervous system. It causes fevers or even neurological signs.

According to a recent study, only 1 in 4 Belgians has ever heard of it. However, the report of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) indicates that it is expanding and progressing from year to year.

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