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First case of tick-borne babesiosis confirmed in England
Ticks are most active between spring and autumn.
PHE calls on people to take precautions to avoid being bitten by ticks. 

People are being urged to be 'tick aware' when enjoying green spaces this summer after a case of Babesiosis was confirmed in England for the first time.

Public Health England (PHE) stressed that the risk of infection of babesiosis 'remains very low', and that cases of the disease in the UK are rare.

Babesiosis is caused by a tiny parasite called babesia that infects and destroys red blood cells. A similar paraste, Babesia canis, had previously been identified in dogs.

PHE also confirmed a second 'probable' case of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), a viral infection that affects the central nervous system. Both patients are receiving care in hospital.

Dr Katherine Russell, consultant in the emerging infections and zoonoses team at PHE, said: “It is important to emphasise that cases of babesiosis and TBE in England are rare and the risk of being infected remains very low. Lyme disease remains the most common tick-borne infection in England.

“Ticks are most active between spring and autumn, so it is sensible to take some precautions to avoid being bitten when enjoying the outdoors. Seek medical advice if you start to feel unwell after a tick bite.”

PHE has been surveying sites in Devon close to where the person with babesiosis lives, collecting and testing hundreds of ticks. However, all tested negative for the parasite which causes babesiosis.

Health officials have also tested deer blood samples from Hampshire in areas near to where the person with probable TBE lives, which have shown evidence of likely TBE virus infection. This matches similar results found in 2019.

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MSD Animal Health announces three new research bursaries

News Story 1
 MSD Animal Health has announced three new research bursaries for veterinary surgeons in the areas of swine, poultry and aquaculture. The bursaries, worth up to £4,000, add to MSD's existing bursaries in ruminant and companion animal research.

Projects are expected to be completed within one to two years, and the proposals will be judged by university academics to ensure that assessment remains independent. Full project design and application guidelines, including the specific disease/subject areas, can be found on MSD Animal Health's website

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News Shorts
VMD and VPS announce joint open information day

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) have announced a joint open information day covering topics such as veterinary medicines regulations, antimicrobial resistance, scientific advice and novel therapies.

Taking place on Wednesday 18 November, the virtual event will take the form of a series of pre-recorded webinars and a 'Slido' Q&A session. Links to the webinars and full instructions on how to use Slido will be available on gov.uk on 18 November. To join the mailing list for the event, email director.support@vmd.gov.uk