Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is produced by a virus. It is transmitted by the tick „Zecken“ Ixodes ricinus that lives in central and east Europe, and in Scandinavia.
In Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, south of Germany, etc, there are areas with high prevalence, including the forest around Vienna or „Wienerwald“.
It is greatest from April to October.
The infection is asymptomatic in 90% of the cases, especially children.
The symptomatic ones:
• 1-3 weeks after the bite develop flu-like symptoms. The majority recover after 2-4 days.
• Only 10% of the previous ones suffer a relapse with meningo-encephalitis with possible neurological sequelae or fatal outcome.
There is not specific treatment against this disease.
General measures include the reduction of tick bites by preventing the vegetation from brushing against bare skin. Use of long trousers, etc. Use of DEET repellents.
Ticks should be removed as soon as possible with tweezers as close to the skin attachment as possible, with steady pulling without twisting. Medical advice should be sought by those no immunised or partially immunised. No specific immunoglobulin is available.
There is an effective and safe vaccine against TBE. The administration is by intramuscular injection (in adults in the shoulder). Basic vaccination consists of 3 different injections: first, the second given 14 days to 3 months after, the third one given 9-12 months after the first one.
Local reactions: redness of the skin and swelling of the lymph glands may occur. General reactions over the first 24 hours: fever, nausea, fatigue, etc occasionally occur. Long lasting problems or reactions are extremely rare. It is a safe vaccine.
LYME DISEASE is produced by bacteria, borrelia, which is also tick-borne but can also be transmitted by insects. There are cases in central Europe as well as in North America. Illness usually begins with a characteristic rash around the bite point and a flu-like illness. It should be treated with antibiotics in order to avoid further manifestations and progression of the illness.