Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE)
Tick-borne encephalitis is caused by a virus. It is transmitted by ticks „Zecken“: Ixodes Ricinus. Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Central Europe including Austria and especially the forest around Vienna or „Wienerwald“ are areas with high prevalence of cases from April to October.
Symptoms. What does it feel like?
The infection often is asymptomatic, especially in children.
- 1-3 weeks after the bite patients develop flu-like symptoms. Most of them recover after 2-4 days.
- Only 5-10% of these patients experience aggravation with meningo-encephalitis which can lead to neurological sequelae or fatal outcome.
Treatment. What can be done?
There is no specific treatment against this disease.
Prevention. What can you do?
General measures include the reduction of tick bites by preventing vegetation from brushing against bare skin. Wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts and use DEET repellents.
Ticks should be removed as soon as possible with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, steadily pulling without twisting. Medical advice should be sought by those not vaccinated or only partially immunized.
Vaccination against TBE. The easiest way to protect oneself.
There is an effective and safe vaccine against TBE, very well accepted in Austria. Basic vaccination consists of 3 intramuscular injections in the shoulder: the first and the second given 14 days to 3 months apart, the third 6-12 months after the first one. Boosters are recommended every 3-5 years depending on the age of the patient. Children can be vaccinated from the age of one.
Local reactions like redness of the skin and swelling of the lymph glands may occur. Reactions like fever, nausea and fatigue occasionally occur within the first 24 hours after being vaccinated. Long lasting problems or reactions are extremely rare.
Lyme disease. Borreliosis.
Lyme disease / Borreliosis is caused by a bacteria, Borrelia Burgdorferi, which is tick-borne, but can also be transmitted by other insects. Cases occur in Central Europe as well as in North America. Illness usually begins with a characteristic rash around the bite, Erythema Chronicum Migrans. Lyme disease must be treated with antibiotics to avoid further manifestations and progression of the illness.
Please, observe your skin after tick and insect bites!