Tick alarm already in spring: TBE is so dangerous!

Tick alarm already in spring: TBE is so dangerous!

Especially on warm spring days, many people spend time in nature. Forests and meadows invite adults and children to exercise, play and run around. But there is a small danger lurking in the undergrowth and tall grass: ticks. The mites transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE or meningitis). That is why vaccination against TBE is particularly important.

Ticks can transmit both  Lyme disease and tick  -borne encephalitis. There is no vaccine against Lyme disease. However, a red circle around the tick bite alerts those affected to the bacterial infection and can be treated with  antibiotics  . Meningitis is harder to detect, but a vaccine is available for the disease.

TBE: This is how tick-borne encephalitis progresses

A tick bite from an infected tick does not immediately mean TBE disease. An infection usually causes symptoms after about a week or two. However, only about 30 percent of those infected show mild to severe symptoms of the disease. These become noticeable in two phases.

The signs of the first phase are:

  • Fever , usually not over 38 °C
  • Flu symptoms such as headaches and  body aches
  • Vomit
  • dizziness

After a fever-free period of about seven to 20 days, meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the meninges and brain) occurs in 10 percent of those affected. This manifests itself as follows:

  • Fever
  • vomiting and  nausea
  • Meningeal irritation (increased sensitivity to light, increased need for sleep)
  • Loss of activity despite being fully conscious (stupor)
  • Come
  • Inflammation of the spinal cord (in older people)

Permanent neurological deficits, such as signs of paralysis, seizure disorders or long headaches, often only appear months after the illness. Adults in particular suffer from a severe course of TBE, if the central nervous system (CNS) is affected, TBE can be fatal – however, the probability is less than one percent.

TBE vaccination: procedure and side effects

The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends vaccination for children and adults. A total of three vaccinations are required for complete vaccination protection. These three vaccinations are given within a year. The vaccination must be boosted every three to five years.

Brief side effects may occur after vaccination, including:

  • fever or high temperature
  • headache and body aches
  • lassitude and malaise
  • Pain and redness at the injection site
  • joint pain

The Robert Koch Institute recommends vaccination especially for people in risk areas. Particularly affected areas in Germany are:

  • Bayern
  • Baden-Wuerttemberg
  • parts of Hesse
  • parts of Saarland
  • parts of Saxony
  • parts of Lower Saxony

During the corona pandemic, the number of TBE cases in Germany increased because there is an increased risk when vacationing in nature. Before traveling abroad, it should also be checked whether there is an increased risk of infection at the destination.

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