New tick virus on the rise in the Netherlands
This year, around 10.000 ticks will be collected from more than 20 locations across the Netherlands in connection with a national study conducted by the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), a dangerous virus which can cause meningitis, is at the centre of the study.
Watch out- tick infection cases on the up
According to Arnold van Vliet, biologist at Wageningen University, and tick radar, the number of cases of people contracting the TBE illness from ticks is increasing, and whilst Lyme disease is much more common, Van Vliet feels it is important to keep an eye on these new developments.
According to a spokesperson from the RIVM, it is unclear as to where the TBE virus is circulating in the Netherlands. Health professionals, such as doctors, microbiologists and municipal health services have been informed about the presence of the virus.
First case in 2016
The TBE virus first popped up in the Netherlands in 2016, in national parks. The virus was found in ticks which were embedded in the skin of deer. Before 2016, the tick-borne virus had only been encountered in Germany, Sweden and Austria. However, after a patient in the Netherlands became infected with the TBE virus, the RIVM found it pertinent to conduct further research.
Currently, the virus is present in 11 areas of the country. TBE antibodies have been found in North-Brabant, Limburg and Gelderland. However, whilst this could indicate the presence of the virus, further research is needed.
Symptoms of the tick virus
Ticks can usually be found in bushes and tall grass. They transfer themselves to people or animals passing by. If you have been out for a stroll in nature, or even just in your garden, you should check yourself for ticks, paying particular attention to the groin area, armpits, knees, between the butt cheeks and behind the ears. You should remove the critter as soon as possible and monitor the area.
If you have been bitten, the new tick virus can be recognised by flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headaches, muscular and joint pain, and in worst case scenarios: meningitis.