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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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RCVS launches photo contest for Mental Health Awareness Week

News Story 1
 The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) is holding a photo competition for Mental Health Awareness Week to highlight the link between the natural world and wellbeing.

Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May) aims to encourage people to talk about their mental health and reduce the stigma that can prevent people from seeking help. This year's theme is nature - notably the connection between the natural world and better mental health.

The RCVS is calling on aspiring photographers to submit a photo on this theme to Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters manager, at l.quigley@rcvs.org.uk with a short explanation about their submission and why nature improves their mental health and wellbeing.  

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News Shorts
WSAVA to host free webinar on illegal online puppy trade

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has announced a free webinar to update veterinary professionals across Europe about the illegal online puppy trade. Taking place on Tuesday, 25 May, the webinar will also discuss the importance of the new EU Animal Health Law to help prevent illegal pet sales and make sellers accountable for their actions.

WSAVA chair Dr Natasha Lee said: "Veterinary professionals regularly have to deal with the repercussions of illicit breeding and trading when presented with clinically ill and sometimes dying puppies and distraught owners. Our webinar will equip veterinarians in Europe with the knowledge to play their part in upholding the new legislation and to contribute to new solutions for regulating the online puppy trade."

For more details visit wsava.org