Tick-borne encephalitis virus, United Kingdom

Maya Holding*, Stuart Dowall, Jolyon Medlock, Daniel P. Carter, Steven Pullan, James Lewis, Richard Vipond, Mara S. Rocchi, Matthew Baylis, Roger Hewson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


During February 2018-January 2019, we conducted large-scale surveillance for the presence and prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and louping ill virus (LIV) in sentinel animals and ticks in the United Kingdom. Serum was collected from 1,309 deer culled across England and Scotland. Overall, 4% of samples were ELISA-positive for the TBEV serocomplex. A focus in the Thetford Forest area had the highest proportion (47.7%) of seropositive samples. Ticks collected from culled deer within seropositive regions were tested for viral RNA; 5 of 2,041 ticks tested positive by LIV/TBEV real-time reverse transcription PCR, all from within the Thetford Forest area. From 1 tick, we identified a full-length genomic sequence of TBEV. Thus, using deer as sentinels revealed a potential TBEV focus in the United Kingdom. This detection of TBEV genomic sequence in UK ticks has important public health implications, especially for undiagnosed encephalitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-96
Number of pages7
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:This research was funded by the Virology & Pathogenesis Group’s Arbovirus Programme, Public Health England, and by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at the University of Liverpool in partnership with Public Health England, in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. M.H. is funded by the National Institute of Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections. M.S.R. is funded by the Scottish Government.

Open Access: Free to read, but no Open Access licence.

Publisher Copyright: © 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All rights reserved.

Citation: Holding M, Dowall SD, Medlock JM, Carter DP, Pullan ST, Lewis J, et al. Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus, United Kingdom. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(1):90-96.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2601.191085

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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