Tick-Borne Encephalitis

Tick-Borne Encephalitis illustration

What is tick-borne encephalitis?

Nasty little bug which attacks travellers in Europe and Asia through tick bites. It causes flu-like symptoms which might become more serious and can be fatal if left untreated.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis illustration
Disease video poster image

Risk areas for Tick-Borne Encephalitis

Map of risk areas for Tick-Borne Encephalitis
  • Key fact

    The chance of dying from a TBE infection can range from less than 2% – 40%, dependent on which type of infection you get.1

  • How do you get tick-borne encephalitis?

    Being bitten by a tick carrying the virus which causes the disease, by ingesting unpasteurized dairy products (such as milk and cheese) from infected animals.1

  • Which countries are affected by tick-borne encephalitis?

    You can’t catch the disease in the UK2 but it’s found in many countries in Europe and Asia (see map).1 There is greater risk in rural and forested areas.2

  • What are the symptoms of tick-borne encephalitis?

    Many TBE infections do not show any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, this can take up to 28 days and may include fever, headache, muscle pain or fatigue.1

  • How serious is tick-borne encephalitis?

    Most people recover fully but, in rare cases, infection leads to inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain (meningitis) and the brain itself (encephalitis). When this happens, symptoms can include confusion, difficulty with speech or balance, seizures, and light sensitivity.1

  • Can I prevent getting tick-borne encephalitis?

    You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

    • Visit your nearest convenient pharmacy or specialist travel health clinic for a risk assessment before your trip
    • Avoid places – like long grass – where ticks live2,3
    • Use a recommended insect repellent containing either 20% Picaridin (e.g Moskito Guard®), DEET, PMD or OLE, IR3535 or 2-undecanone3
    • Wear appropriate clothing (e.g loose fitting long-sleeved clothes, long trousers, socks and shoes) to minimise exposed skin3
    • Check every day for ticks that may have attached themselves to your body.3 Carefully remove any that you find using a tick remover or tweezers. Gently grip the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it away without twisting or crushing. Then wash your skin with water and soap and apply an antiseptic cream.2

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References
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2018. Chapter 3 Infectious Diseases Related to Travel. Tickborne Encephalitis. May 2017. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/tickborne-encephalitis (Last accessed April 2019)
  2. NHS Choices. Conditions. Tick-borne Encephalitis. April 2018. Available online:
    http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tick-borne-encephalitis/ (Last accessed April 2019)
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2018. Chapter 2 The Pre-Travel Consultation. Counseling & Advice for Travelers. Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Arthropods. May 2017. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods (Last accessed April 2019)

UK-BOTB-1900040 June 2019