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Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infectious disease involving the brain (central nervous system).
Over the past decades, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) has become a growing public health concern in Europe and Asia and is the most important viral tick-borne disease in Europe.
The countries with areas most affected by TBE are:
Austria, Germany, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Croatia, Albania, the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, Russia (including Siberia), Ukraine, some other countries of the former Soviet Union, and northern and eastern regions of China.
TBE is endemic across much of Central and Eastern Europe and the incidence is increasing, with numbers estimated to be as many as 10,000 cases per year.
The Far Eastern type is endemic in areas of China and Japan.
TBE has never been endemic in the UK.
In endemic areas, people with recreational or occupational exposure to rural or outdoor settings are potentially at risk:
The incubation period of TBE can be from 2 to 28 days (usually between 7 and 14 days) and is asymptomatic, which means that you wouldn't know that you had the disease.
A characteristic biphasic febrile illness follows, with an initial phase that lasts 2 to 4 days - the viraemic phase.
It is nonspecific with symptoms that may include:
Nausea and/or vomiting
TBE cases occur during the highest period of tick activity, ie between April and November.
Sometimes in warmer southern areas, this period may be extended.
Person-to-person transmission has not been reported.
There is no specific drug therapy for tick encephalitis, but there is a very effective vaccine.
If bitten by a tick, medical advice should be sought locally, as specific immunoglobulin may be available and advised within 48 hours.
Meningitis, encephalitis or meningoencephalitis require hospital supportive care based on syndrome severity and all these conditions are potentially fatal..
Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids, may be considered under specific circumstances, for symptomatic relief.
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Tick-borne Encephalitis (TBE) - A growing threat to travellers in Eastern Europe, Eurasia & the Far East