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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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Vets asked to opt-in to Scottish SPCA fostering programme

News Story 1
 The Scottish SPCA is encouraging veterinary practices to opt into its new fostering programme, by agreeing to register foster animals when approached by one of the foster carers.

The programme goes live in August 2021, and will help to rehabilitate animals under the Scottish SPCA's care until they are able to be properly re-homed. The programme will help the animals to receive care and attention in a stable and happy home environment, as some animals do not cope with a rescue and re-homing centre environment as well as others.

Specific information for veterinary practices on the new programme can be found at www.scottishspca.org/veterinarysurgeons 

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News Shorts
Webinar provides insight into old age pets

A new webinar providing insights into the BSAVA PetSavers Old Age Pets citizen science project is now available free of charge to its members via the BSAVA Library

The webinar presents an exclusive insight into the research process and progression of the study, which aims to help veterinary professionals and owners provide the best care for their senior dogs.

It also discusses the study's research methods, the researchers' personal interests in this area of study, and how they envisage the findings being used to create a guidance tool to improve discussions between vets and owners about their ageing dogs.