London, East Sussex, Kent and Essex are the only areas of the UK to have a “very high” rating for the blood-sucking insects, a study has revealed. Experts say rising temperatures pinned to global warming are driving the bugs to the north of Europe raising the risk of the disease spreading so much that they suggest residents tuck their trouser legs into their socks. The authors of the study said: “The distribution of I. ricinus continues to expand northwards in latitude and upwards in altitude in Europe.
“Climate trends and the density of key hosts for the adults of the tick, have been pointed as the main factors behind the spread of I. ricinus.”
They said other areas with “very high” reports of the illness are Norway, around Copenhagen in Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, the south of Germany, and around the Alps in Italy, France and Austria.
The research was completed by scientists around Europe as well as those from the University of East London and was published in the International Journal of Health Geographics.