Tick-borne encephalitis refers to three strains of the encephalitis virus, which are transmitted in different regions of the world from infected ticks to humans. The virus enters the bloodstream after a tick bites a person. The infection mimics the flu, causing some cases to go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Approximately 30 percent of tick-borne encephalitis cases advance to a high fever and affect the central nervous system. The severity of the illness depends on the individual, although there are correlations between the severity of complications and age. In rare cases, unpasteurized dairy products may also transmit the virus.
Ticks are arachnids, and under a microscope resemble a flat spider. To the naked eye, ticks can look like small brown or black spots. They live in forested areas and can attach to people or pets. Ticks burrow their heads into the skin, which makes them tricky to remove. Popular removal methods include dousing the spot with rubbing alcohol and carefully using tweezers to extract the tick. However, in some instances, the head can detach, which can lead to a virus-borne infection from the tick's saliva.
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