Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE)

Editorial Board

Editorial Board

June 17th, 2021

Editorial Board

Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE) is a viral disease transmitted primarily by tick bites, but also by consumption of non-pasteurised milk and milk products from infected animals (especially goats).

TBE is endemic in some regions of at least 27 European countries, as well as Central and Eastern Asia. In several European countries, Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE) is among the most common human infections of the central nervous system, and in some countries it represents a major public health problem. In areas where the disease is common, forest workers, hunters, farmers and anyone exposed to rural or outdoor settings such as campers are potentially at risk of infection by contact with the infected ticks. Large outbreaks of TBE, sometimes involving thousands of cases, continue to occur in endemic areas.4 Every year, 10,000 to 12,000 TBE cases are reported.

Click here to see the latest map of TBE in Europe.

The disease attacks the central nervous system and may lead to long-term neurological illnesses such as concentration problems, paralysis and depression. Approximately every 1 – 4 people out of 100 cases results in the death of the affected person.

Is it preventable?

Yes, TBE can be successfully prevented by immunisation. According to the WHO, the best effective way to prevent TBE is vaccination. The field effectiveness of TBE vaccination is among the best achievable against viral infection. The overall field effectiveness in regularly vaccinated people has been shown to be 99%. Prevention by special clothing and tick repellents has proven not reliable enough. Therefore, vaccination against TBE is recommended for everyone residing in or traveling to endemic areas.