Tick Bourne Encephalitis

Tick Bourne Encephalitis is a rare semi-serious infection that is transmitted by tick carrying the virus. TBE is extremely rare in the UK but is an acknowledged problem in parts of Easter Europe, Russia and Scandinavia. If left untreated, small percentages of hosts can suffer fatal symptoms. People who go on to develop the more serious symptoms show similar clinical signs of meningitis.

Tick Bourne Encephalitis – “TBEV” although particularly uncommon compared to other travel related illnesses it remains a substantial public health problem in certain parts of the world. The disease has a similar effect on the body as Meningitis Meningococcal and causes damage to the lower spinal cord; most cases where the virus is restricted to this area make full recovery. If the disease spreads to higher parts of the spinal cord it can cause long term even fatal damage. It’s estimated around one in every one hundred cases result in fatality.

Tick Bourne Encephalitis

TBE or Tick Bourne Encephalitis is not transmitted from person to person, it’s contracted by the bite of the infected Ixodes Tick. The disease itself resides in side animals such as birds, rodents, deer, sheep and pigs, there has even been cases reported people becoming infected from drinking unpasteurised goats milk. With the virus being spread by ticks wooded and long grassed areas can be hotspots to be mindful of in countries that carry higher TBEV risks.
The virus itself is part of the Flaviviridae family of viruses of which several are harmful to the human body like Omsk Haemorrhagic FeverEastern Equine Encephalitis and Japanese Bourne Encephalitis for example. TICK-ANPC

The initial symptoms are things like headaches, high fevers, loss of appetite, fatigue and muscle pains. Although these symptoms don’t always manifest and in some cases are not that bad, failure to receive suitable medical treatment can lead to a slow recovery and further health complications and long term effects.

The second stage of the symptoms that can onset are things like change in mental state, drowsiness, confusion and disorientation, sensitivity to light, inability to speak and even in some case seizures. At this point anyone experiencing these symptoms should be rushed to hospital to receive professional care.

Tick Bourne Encephalitis Across The World

TBE in today’s world is considered quite uncommon however since vaccination was made available the number of cases has dropped globally yet still remains a serious issue in parts of the world like Europe, Asia and Russia.

Tick across the World


Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland , Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Vatican City


Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macau, Malaysia Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Vietnam


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Vaccination provides the best possible protection from Tick Bourne Encephalitis with 95% of success, however, cases are known to occur after vaccination and so the adherence of the highest hygiene standards and the avoidance and prevention of tick bites is the best course of action when travelling to high-risk areas.

Avoiding ticks

Ticks are small arachnids that latch on to skin and feed on the blood of its host sometimes causing Lyme disease. Mainly found in woodland areas the best ways to avoid ticks include:

  • Wearing suitable clothing in tick-infested areas (a long-sleeve shirt and trousers tucked into your socks)
  • Wearing light-coloured fabrics to help you spot a tick on your clothes so you can remove them before carrying them into your car and accommodation and so on.
  • Using insect repellents containing diethyltoluamide are rather effective.
  • Inspecting your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband).
  • Checking your children’s head and neck areas, including their scalp
  • Checking that pets don’t bring ticks indoors on their fur

It’s also important to remove any ticks you find as soon as possible. Learn More Here



Upon admission to the hospital to gain confirmation of the illness they will conduct blood tests and in some cases a lumber puncture to test the spinal fluid. There is no specific treatment available and so the best thing is to get pain relief and if entering in the second stage of symptoms you will be given fluids.

If the second stage of symptoms are experience, the likelihood of developing long term complications are quite high, it is reported that in cases patients have had long to permanent memory, attention and behavioural problems (compulsions, impulsive and irrational.) You can find out more about the potential complications here.


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