Tick-borne encephalitis, or TBE, is one of the viral diseases in Hungary and Central Europe that can spread by ticks. The virus causes brain inflammation with severe fever and headache. The TBE vaccination offers extra protection for those living or staying in these areas. Symptoms often occur one to two weeks after a tick bite has spread the infection. It is not uncommon for symptoms to disappear after a few days, only to return later. Children usually have fewer and milder symptoms than adults. Sometimes the disease also comes with symptoms such as convulsions and paralysis.
Vaccination against TBE
The basic vaccination involves three injections at certain intervals. Dosage two is taken between one to three months after the first vaccination. After the first two doses the vaccinated person has 90% protection. After three doses, the protection is almost total. The third dose is usually given a year after the first two. Thereafter, additional vaccinations should follow at intervals of three to five years, depending on the age of the individual.
Older people should be vaccinated every three years. To obtain adequate protection, vaccinations against TBE should be initiated well before the individual has the possibility to exposure to infection. Side effects of TBE vaccinations are unusual, but swelling, redness and tenderness at the injection site may occur. Some also get diarrhea, light fever or vomiting but fortunately symptoms will end after a short time.
Tick-borne encephalitis and meningitis
The virus attacks the central nervous system and is transmitted to the brain causing inflammation, i.e. encephalitis, or meningitis which is the acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The first symptoms are influenza-like fever, limb pain, and after 1-3 days of symptoms, fever, dizziness and vomiting occur. In the second phase, the virus enters the central nervous system and causes inflammation, so it may cause lateral paralysis. In the case of secondary symptoms, doctors can mainly assist in symptomatic treatment, and it is important to turn to a doctor after tick bites to avoid serious complications.
In a third of cases, paralytic symptoms may occur, with persistent paralysis making up 10% of cases. Fortunately, the mortality rate is not significant, with 1-2% of all infection leading to death. Unfortunately, in Hungary only 5-15 % of the population is vaccinated TBA, in stark contrast with neighboring Austria, where more than 80 percent are protected. Ticks become active from April to September, not only in rural forests but also in urban ‘green’ areas such as City Park and Margit Island.
Make a date with FirstMed, to discuss vaccination with your doctor and start inoculation to avoid unnecessary risks!