Ticks that can spread brain illness have reached UK
A disease that can harm the brain and which is spread to humans by tick bites has been identified in the insects in Britain for the first time.
Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed the presence of the tick-borne encephalitis virus in Thetford Forest and on the Hampshire-Dorset border.
PHE says the risk is "very low", but it is investigating how common the infected ticks might be.
Ticks are becoming more common in parts of the UK, mainly due to increasing deer numbers.
They can also live in other animals, such as dogs, and in undergrowth.
Ticks can also carry other diseases, including Lyme disease.
However, being bitten by a tick does not necessarily mean a person will fall ill.The tick-borne encephalitis virus is already present in mainland Europe and parts of Asia.
It is thought infected ticks may have arrived in the UK through migratory birds.
Most people who catch the encephalitis virus will have no or only mild flu-like symptoms. But it can affect the brain and central nervous system and can sometimes be fatal.