Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE) virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick but can also be acquired by eating unpasteurised dairy products from infected goats, sheep and cows and rarely through blood transfusions or breast feeding.
TBE is found in specific regions of Europe and Asia, with most cases occurring between April and November. Infections largely result from tick bites acquired in forested areas, with activities such as camping and hiking putting people at particular risk.
With an incubation period of between 4-28 days, initial symptoms include fever, muscle aches and headache lasting for several days. Approximately thirty percent of people go on to develop central nervous system symptoms which can include altered mental state, seizures, tremors and neurological deficits.
For most travellers to affected regions personal protection measures are sufficient – avoid consuming unpasteurised dairy products and take measures to avoid tick bites. For those who anticipate high risk exposures vaccination is possible and whilst not readily available, we are able to organise approval for you and source the vaccine.
The TBE vaccine is not widely available in Australia, requiring TGA approval and pre-payment before it can be ordered. Our clinic regularly sees travellers who require immunisation and generally have the vaccine in the clinic within a week.
Two doses are given prior to exposure with a third 5-12 months later, providing 3 year’s immunity.
Usually given a month apart, an accelerated course is possible with the second vaccine given two weeks after the first.