In Greece, cases of encephalitis have been reported in shepherds in Central Macedonia and Thessaly after being bitten by forest ticks.
Currently, five cases of encephalitis have been identified in the country. They are found among shepherds in Central Macedonia and Thessaly. In addition, there were cases “imported” from Central and Northern Europe!
The disease is caused by the bite of an infected tick. The Department of Animal Health and Veterinary control Veterinary control of the region Central Macedonia (Τμήμα Υγείας Ζώων και Κτηνιατρικής Αντίληψης, Φαρμάκων και Εφαρμογών της Διεύθυνσης Κτηνιατρικής της Περιφέρειας Κεντρικής Μακεδονίας) has issued the relevant circular, which refers to a dangerous disease that affects humans and animals.
In humans, the severity of the disease ranges from mild to severe encephalitis with death or long-term neurological consequences.
Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. In the worst cases, it leads to serious psychiatric and neurological complications. Sometimes it ends with the death of the sick person. Encephalitis is one of the most dangerous infections transmitted by ticks. After a tick bite, 2-6% of victims fall ill. In theory, the chances of contracting encephalitis are slim, but the statistics are unlikely to comfort those infected with the virus.
Ways of transmission of the virus. The causative agent of tick-borne encephalitis is transmitted to the victim in the first minutes of the parasite’s suction along with saliva. Such infestation can occur in areas with rich vegetation or in the house if the arthropod “arrived” on an animal or freshly cut plants. The virus is also transmitted through the consumption of milk and dairy products. In this case, the types of measures aimed at preventing tick-borne encephalitis include mandatory boiling of milk and the exclusion of dairy products from consumption. It will be necessary to exclude dairy products from the diet due to the impossibility of preliminary heat treatment of raw materials. A tick bite is a third way of transmitting the virus: rubbing it into the skin while combing the bite site. But with a tick bite, it usually doesn’t matter whether there is a scratching or not. The virus was introduced into the bloodstream much earlier.
Signs of encephalitis. The incubation period is 4 to 14 days. The further development of the disease is very similar to the symptoms of influenza, which is why people often do not pay attention to encephalitis. They mistake fever, nausea and muscle pain for symptoms of a cold. Depending on the type of tick-borne encephalitis, then either remission occurs for 8 days, or it immediately goes to the second stage of development with damage to the nervous system.
Prevention. By the time signs of the disease appear, a person already has time to forget about a tick bite, so it is better to take preventive measures right away, without waiting for encephalitis to develop or not. Disease prevention is divided into 2 types – specific and non-specific. The first includes vaccinations and measures to prevent the development of encephalitis if the tick has already bitten. Non-specific prophylaxis provides protection against the bite of a parasite: overalls when going into the forest, the ability to choose a place to rest, measures to prevent the introduction of a tick into the house, a systematic examination of the body. These measures allow you to protect yourself not only from ticks, but also from the gnat, which also carries diseases that are dangerous to humans.
The following rules must be observed: wear light-colored monochromatic clothes, long sleeves on the cuffs, the shirt collar and cuffs fit snugly to the body, the shirt is tucked into the trousers, the trousers are tucked into socks with thick elastic bands or, in extreme cases, into the boots, a jacket sewn to the jacket is put on the head or a kerchief, the kerchief should be tightly wrapped around the hair, acaricidal agents or drugs that repel the parasite are applied to clothing.