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Digital Pharma: Novartis game takes aim at ticks

pharmafile | July 30, 2010 | News story | Medical Communications Digital Pharma blog, Novartis, digital patients, disease awareness campaigns, encephalitis 

Novartis has launched a new online game to raise awareness of the risks posed by ticks and how to avoid the dangerous infections they can transmit.

The lighthearted game has been produced by Novartis Vaccines for the German market, where Zeckenencephalitis – tick-bourn encephalitis or TBE – is widespread in many parts of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Players of Zeck Attack have to catapult ticks at potential victims, with more points on offer for hitting people who haven’t protected themselves, either by vaccination or covering themselves suitably when outdoors.

In recent years the number of risk areas for TBE, as well as the number of infections, has risen steadily in Germany with cases also recorded in Hessen, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia.

Across Europe there are around 6,000 cases of TBE each year. The virus often leads to a flu-like illness that lasts about a week and can progress to encephalitis or meningitis. It can cause headache, fever, confusion, agitation, vomiting and, in serious cases, leads to a coma or even death.

Novartis’ Zeck Attack is one of a handful of games that have been produced to raise awareness of certain diseases or health issues, or to aid treatment compliance.

Recent examples of these include the UK sexual health game Privates, Bayer’s Nintendo DS compatible glucose meter and Shire’s football themed Kid K Keepy Uppies game.

Dominic Tyer is web editor for Pharmafocus and and the author of the Digital Pharma blog He can be contacted via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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