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Tick-Borne Encephalitis

a.k.a Tobee

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.

Key Fact

One in every hundred cases is fatal.1

disease risk map

How do people catch the disease?

Being bitten by a tick carrying the virus which causes the disease.2

Which countries are affected?

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

What are the symptoms?

Fever, headache, muscle pain, fatigue.1

How serious is the disease?

Most people recover fully in around 8 days. But in rare cases infection leads to inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain (meningitis) and the brain itself (encephalitis).2

Can I reduce the chances of catching the disease?

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 live3,4 
  • Use a recommended insect repellent containing either 20% Picaridin (e.g Moskito Guard®), DEET or PMD5
  • Wear appropriate clothing (e.g long-sleeved clothes and long trousers)3
  • Check every day for ticks that may have attached themselves to your body. 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.4

References:

1. NHS Choices. Conditions. Tick-borne Encephalitis. December 2015. Available online:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tick-borne-encephalitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Last accessed September 2017)

2. 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 September 2017)

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 September 2017)

4. NHS Choices. Conditions. Lyme disease. March 2015. Available online: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Lyme-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Last accessed September 2017)

5. Public Health England. Mosquito bite avoidance for travellers. August 2017. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mosquito-bite-avoidance-for-travellers (Last accessed September 2017)

 

UK/TRA/0817/0171d September 2017