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Travel health tips to keep you safe during your holiday or business trip.

Tick-borne encephalitis and Travel

on 07 May 2022
Last Updated: 08 May 2022

What is tick-borne encephalitis?

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a disease caused by a virus. It is a vaccine-preventable arthropod-borne disease.

Tick-borne encephalitis Vaccine: Read more!

The virus spreads to people mainly through tick bites or Eating unpasteurized dairy products from infected animals It can cause a flu-like illness or lead to more severe symptoms such as meningitis or brain inflammation.

Risk areas

TBE is reported in a band of areas extending from central, eastern and northern Europe, across Russia to parts of eastern Asia, mainly in non-tropical regions of the Eurasian forest steppe. These areas are generally at altitudes lower than 1500 metres.
Europe TBE is endemic to focal areas of Europe and Asia, extending from eastern France to northern Japan and from northern Russia to Albania. Approximately 5,000–13,000 TBE cases are reported each year, with large annual fluctuations. Russia has the largest number of reported cases. The highest disease incidence has been reported from western Siberia, Slovenia, and the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania).
Asian countries with reported TBE cases or virus activity include China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and South Korea.

The illness

Approximately two-thirds of infections are asymptomatic. The incubation period for TBE is 8 days (range, 4–28 days).
Disease severity increases with age and tends to be less severe in children, TBE affects the central nervous system and may cause a spectrum of disease, from a mild short-lived illness to a more severe life-threatening illness with the potential for severe neurological complications.
The European type is associated with milder disease, with death rate of <2% compared to the Asian type of 20%–40% .

Treatment

There is no specific antiviral treatment for TBE; therapy consists of supportive care and management of complications.


 Tick of genus Ixode

What can travelers do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis?

Travelers can protect themselves against TBE by taking the following precautions:
should be advised to take risk avoidance measures including:

Practice bite avoidance methods: for example, wear appropriate clothing and use effective insect repellents.

Remove ticks as soon as possible with a pair of fine tipped tweezers or tick remover.

Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
Eat only pasteurized dairy products
Get vaccinated if recommended, No TBE vaccine is licensed or available in the United States. Two inactivated cell culture-derived TBE vaccines are available in Europe for adults and children.
Tick-borne encephalitis Vaccine: Read more!

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