New tick found in north east Scotland

Discussion in 'Other health news and research' started by Amw66, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

  2. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Very cool, in a not-cool-sort of way. I don't think they found a new tick. I think they found a species of babesia not normally found in Scotland. And one never found in sheep before, which is somewhat alarming.

    The article says the chances of contracting this form of babesia are remote. It was remote when a babesia cousin first turned up not far from Montauk, Long Island, NY back in the late 60's. Now, in the Northeast US at least, if you get bitten by a tick you'd best get checked for babesia, as I believe it's endemic in some counties in some states. I test positive for babesia off and on, and my understanding is I will likely carry the parasite for the rest of my life (b microti, not b venatorum)

    I seem to recall a unique form of borrelia being found in Scotland a few years back, or maybe that was a new species of tick? Cannot recall, but I DO recall it also was in Scotland.
    Hutan, Peter Trewhitt, ukxmrv and 2 others like this.
  3. ladycatlover

    ladycatlover Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Liverpool, UK
    This was written up in The Grauniad too. (I'm unable to access the first link as it's behind a paywall)

    Potentially deadly tick-borne parasite found in UK.

    I'm guessing this is "our" Willie Weir.
  4. ladycatlover

    ladycatlover Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Liverpool, UK
    Post from ProMed Mail.

    A ProMED-mail post
    ProMED-mail is a program of the
    International Society for Infectious Diseases

    Date: Wed 20 Nov 2019
    Source: BBC News (Scotland) [edited]

    An exotic and potentially deadly tick-borne parasite has been found in
    the UK for the 1st time.

    A study conducted by the University of Glasgow found the parasite in
    sheep in the north east of Scotland.

    This is the 1st time the organism, called _Babesia venatorum_, has
    ever been found in sheep anywhere in the world.

    The parasite causes a disease called babesiosis which is recognised as
    an emerging infection in human health.

    It has been extensively recorded in China and in Europe with 2 human
    infections confirmed in Italy in the last 20 years.

    Babesiosis is treatable in most cases, although this depends on rapid
    and accurate diagnosis.

    The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said infected
    people may get symptoms such as flu and jaundice but severe cases can
    lead to death.

    Scientists believed the risk of people contracting this infection,
    however, is believed to be low.

    Researchers targeted areas where tick-borne viruses had been
    previously detected and collected blood from sheep, cattle, and deer.

    Scientists believed the parasite could have travelled to the north
    east of Scotland via migrating birds from Scandinavian countries.

    Dr Willie Weir, from the University of Glasgow, said: "The presence of
    _B. venatorum_ in the UK represents a new risk to humans working,
    living, or hiking in areas with infected ticks and livestock,
    particularly sheep.

    "Although we believe the threat to humans to be low, nevertheless
    local health and veterinary professionals will need to be aware of the
    disease if the health risk from tick-borne disease in the UK is to be
    fully understood."

    Communicated by:

    [For the University of Glasgow study mentioned above please see ref. 1
    below. Its "conclusions" section (references omitted) follows:

    "This study confirms that _B. venatorum_ is present in the UK, but it
    remains unclear how the parasite entered the country because there was
    no history of imported animals at either farm surveyed. However, the
    survey sites are situated near the main landing areas for migratory
    birds coming to the UK from continental Europe, particularly Norway,
    and _B. venatorum_ has been found in ticks collected from the
    environment and in migratory birds in Scandinavia. We postulate that
    birds could act as an import vector for ticks carrying _B.

    "The presence of _B. venatorum_ in the UK represents a new risk to
    humans working, living, or hiking in areas harboring infected ticks
    and livestock, particularly sheep. As such, local health and
    veterinary professionals will need to be aware of the disease if the
    risk for tick-borne disease in the UK is to be fully understood.

    "Current UK medical inclusion criteria for babesiosis focus on
    identifying cattleborne _B. divergens_. Going forward, consideration
    of _B. venatorum_, through careful morphologic description of blood
    smears and sequencing of informative regions of the 18S SSU rRNA gene,
    be necessary for accurate diagnosis and correctly targeted treatment

    "Our study has revealed that sheep are a natural host for _B.
    venatorum_ in the UK. Previously, roe deer were believed to be the
    main vertebrate host for this parasite in Europe. It is unclear why
    _B. venatorum_ has not previously been detected in sheep, although it
    may be that infection in this host species occurs only in particular
    foci or is limited to the UK. Thus, ongoing active surveillance of
    Babesia species in UK livestock would be useful to fully understand
    the prevalence and transmission of the disease. Such information may
    be critical for controlling the spread of babesiosis because sheep are
    routinely transported large distances (including across international
    borders) and are closely associated with tick habitats. Our study also
    suggests that the role that livestock plays in _B. venatorum_
    transmission in continental Europe should be reassessed."

    The authors state that their finding "represents a novel potential
    threat to animal and human health"; however, clinical signs in sheep,
    in case observed, have not become available yet. In this respect, a
    case report describing fatal acute babesiosis associated with _B.
    venatorum_ infection in a captive reindeer calf in Switzerland
    deserves attention (ref. 2).

    _Babesia_ are intraerythrocytic protozoan pathogens transmitted by
    ticks; their clinical manifestation is comparable to malaria. More
    than 100 _Babesia_ spp have been identified in wild and domestic
    animals. Babesia that infect livestock have had a significant
    worldwide economic impact and include _B. bigemina_, _B. bovis_, _B.
    divergens_, and _B. major_. Other animals infected by _Babesia_ spp
    include horses (_B. caballi_), dogs (_B. canis_), cats (_B. felis_),
    deer (_B. odocolei_), and rodents (_B. microti_). Several _Babesia_
    spp have been found to cause disease in humans. These are _B.
    microti_, _B. crassa_-like pathogen, _B. divergens_, _B. duncani_, and
    _B. venatorum_, as well as several other _Babesia_ that are closely
    genetically related (_B. divergens_-like, _B. duncani_-type, _B.
    microti_-like) or described in a single case (K01, XXB/Hang/Zhou). In
    Europe, the probable or confirmed vector of _Babesia_ is the tick
    _Ixodes ricinus_. Parts of the above information have been extracted
    from ref. 3.

    1. Gray A, Capewell P, Loney C, et al. Sheep as host species for
    zoonotic _Babesia venatorum_, United Kingdom. Emerg Infect Dis. 2019;
    25(12): 2257-60;
    2. Novacco M, Hofmann-Lehmann R, Grimm F, et al. Fatal acute
    babesiosis associated with _Babesia venatorum_ infection (_Babesia_
    sp. EU1) in a captive reindeer calf in Switzerland. Veterinary
    Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports. 2019; 18: 100336;
    3. Krause PJ. Human babesiosis (2019). Int J Parasitol. 2019; 49(2):
    165-74; <>.
    - Mod.AS

    HealthMap/ProMED-mail map of the United Kingdom:

    [See Also:
    Babesiosis - USA: blood transfusion
    Babesiosis - United States: (WI) 2001 - 2015:
    Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis - Canada: (MB):
    Babesiosis, canine - UK (02): (England) alert:
    Anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Lyme disease - USA: (ME) increased
    Babesia - USA: blood supply:
    Babesia - USA: blood supply
    Babesia - USA: (NY)
    Tick-borne infections - USA: Ehrlichia, Babesia
    Babesia, new species - Austria and Italy]

  5. Keela Too

    Keela Too Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Seems not.


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