Tick-borne encephalitis under surveillance
I’m in Edinburgh today, taling at the annual meeting of Eurosurveillance, so as a warm up, here’s an intereting story from Eurosurveillance:
Climate and environmental changes are suspected as major determinants that alter the distribution and transmission patterns of certain communicable diseases, especially those transmitted by arthropods, such as ticks (e.g. tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and Lyme disease), mosquitoes, (e.g. Chikungunya and Dengue fever), or sandflies (e.g. visceral leishmaniasis). Apart from the effect on the natural conditions and favouring a wider distribution of vectors which may carry diseases, they can also influence occupational and recreational human behaviour and lead to an increased exposure to the risk of infectious diseases e.g. through increased time spent outdoors and harvesting food in woodlands with high concentrations of ticks.
In the European Union (EU), climate and environmental changes are believed to be a cause for the recent resurgence of ‘old suspects’ such as malaria, as well as the geographic expansion of diseases like West Nile fever or TBE. On 5 September 2012, TBE was included in the list of notifiable diseases in the EU. The main European Commission Decisions on communicable diseases were amended to include TBE in the list of diseases for EU notification, along with its own new case definition.