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    Navigating the Ticking Time Bomb: Safeguarding Against Ticks in Spring

    As the allure of May draws us outdoors for quality time with loved ones and appreciation of nature, it’s crucial to acknowledge the lurking threat posed by ticks and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) with the onset of spring. 

    Understanding the Increasing Threat

    In Poland, the risk of TBE infection has surged, with reported cases reaching a staggering 659 in 2023, more than double the figures of the previous four years. Dr Anna Wierzbicka from the University of Life Sciences in Poznań highlights that ticks remain active year-round, posing a continuous risk of exposure. This spike in infections is attributed largely to climate change, causing shifts in tick behaviour, as explained by Prof. Joanna Zajkowska from the Clinic of Infectious Diseases and Neuroinfections at the Medical University of Białystok.

    Global Concerns: TBE Beyond Poland

    TBE is not confined to Poland; it presents a growing public health challenge across Europe and beyond. Over the past three decades, TBE cases in humans have surged by nearly 400% in endemic regions of Europe. Central European countries like Austria and the Czech Republic report annual cases ranging from 350 to 850. Prof. Zajkowska underscores that TBE’s spread extends to countries like Germany, Sweden, and even the Netherlands, where it has become endemic, posing significant health risks.

    Prioritize Safety for a Enjoyable May Break

    As we eagerly anticipate the joys of May’s outdoor activities, let’s prioritize safety by taking measures to protect ourselves from ticks. Prof. Zajkowska emphasizes the importance of being proactive in safeguarding against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and its severe complications. With careful planning and adherence to preventive measures such as wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellents containing DEET, and conducting thorough ‘tick checks’ after outdoor activities, we can ensure a safe and enjoyable May break for ourselves and our loved ones.

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