Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral infection that can infect humans via a tick bite. The initial indications of the condition are strikingly the same as the flu and include:
- Muscle pain
These symptoms generally last for up to 8 days, after which point most can fully recover. Nevertheless, some might develop serious symptoms if the virus spreads to the protective tissue layer covering the spinal cord and brain or the brain itself.
How does it spread?
It is important to note that ticks are present in woods, forests, meadows, brushwood, marshes and scrublands. Most usually thrive in the underbrush where they quickly attach to the skin or clothes of humans.
An individual is infected with tick-borne encephalitis if bit by a carrier tick. The virus is already in the saliva of the tick which includes a natural anesthetic in which one could not notice that he/she has been bitten.
One can be bitten by a diseased tick at any period of the year, but activity is at its peak during the spring and early summer.
Consuming unpasteurized milk and other dairy products from infected animals especially goats increase the risk of exposure to the virus. Nevertheless, this is considered rare.
Management of tick-borne encephalitis
If an individual is suspected with tick-borne encephalitis, the doctor will perform a blood test or lumbar puncture to confirm if he/she is infected.
Remember that there is no available cure for the condition, thus treatment is aimed on alleviating the symptoms until the infection settles.
If the individual only experiences the initial indications of the condition, treatment is not necessary other than using pain medications to lessen the symptoms.
Hospitalization is required if the condition of the individual progresses to the second-phase symptoms. Intravenous fluids are administered to help with breathing.