TICK BORNE ENCEPHALITIS?
Tick-Borne Encephalitis is a viral disease spread by infected tick bites. The ticks live in the undergrowth and long grass and attach themselves to humans as you brush past them. The infection is passed into the bloodstream from their infected saliva when they bite you.
As the ticks are also carried by goats, sheep and cattle, the infection can also be caught by eating or drinking unpasteurised dairy products from infected animals. Other carriers of the ticks include mice and small birds. The ticks are most active from April to October.
The symptoms of the disease usually appear between 4 and 28 days after an infected bite and include Nausea and Vomiting, Tiredness, Sore Muscles, Fever, Headache and Flu-like symptoms. These can last between 1 and 8 days but usually, a full recovery is then made.
However, in a small percentage of cases, a further set of symptoms may occur up to 20 days after the 1st illness causing brain swelling (Encephalitis) or Meningitis, Paralysis which may be permanent or even death.
There is no treatment for the disease.
DO I NEED TICK-BORNE ENCEPHALITIS VACCINATION FOR MY HOLIDAY?
Tick-Borne Encephalitis is prevalent in many areas of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe particularly areas such as Austria, Germany and Switzerland where people are hiking through forests and meadows. Only 1% of these cases are known to be fatal.
However, there are risk areas in Northern and Eastern China, Japan and the Russian Federation and this version is known to be more severe (up to 20% of severely infected patients have died).
Ticovac is the licenced vaccination for adults and children over 16 and is given as a course of three injections.
The 2nd vaccination is given 1 to 3 months after the 1st. This gives partial immunity.
A 3rd injection is required 5 to 12 months after the 2nd injection for full immunity.
If needed in a hurry, the 2nd dose can be administered two weeks after the 1st.
Immunity will last up to three years. A single dose booster may then be given if necessary.
** Children under 16 require Ticovac Jr at the same course interval.
** Not suitable for anyone who has had a confirmed reaction to the vaccination before or any of its constituents or anyone who has had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction to eggs.
HOW DO I AVOID GETTING TICK-BORNE ENCEPHALITIS?
As the risk is highest in parks, forests and woodlands during spring and summer, anyone who is camping, hiking and spending large amounts of time outdoors should be vaccinated. Also ensuring that long-sleeved clothing, socks and trousers are worn to prevent ticks attaching to the skin and spraying outer clothing and exposed skin with insect repellent.
Check your body regularly for ticks and know how to remove them safely if you find them.
Avoid eating or drinking unpasteurised dairy products.