RUSSIAN TICK ENCEPHALITIS
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This is a virus disease that was first recognized in 1932 and again after World War II in central Europe, after which it was found over many parts of Europe, especially in virgin forests where humans are particularly vulnerable to being bitten (Matheson 1950).
The principal vector east of Siberia is the tick Ixodes persulcatus, and in Europe Ixodes ricinus (Service 2008). Other tick species that have been found to be infected are Dermacentor silvarum, Haemaphysalis concinna and H. japonica, but human transmission is not established. There are two peaks of infection: spring and summer and ticks are active in a two or three-year cycle.
Symptoms are typically flu-like, and last variable lengths of time depending on the health of the patient.
The virus multiplies in the tick, migrating to the salivary glands. Human infection occurs from a tick bite. The ticks themselves, deer, birds, small rodents and insectivores may be reservoirs for the virus. Service (2008) notes that there is transstadial and transovarial transmission, but humans are not part of the natural transmission cycle but only are accidentally infested with ticks. The virus also resides in the mammary glands of goats, sheep and cows, whereby humans risk infection by consuming infected unpasteurized milk or cheese.
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