Published: 06.10.05 Updated: 07.10.2005 09:27:51
Hans Blystad, Lars Blad, Johan Giesecke, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Sweden, the Steering Group of the project Building a Network for Infections Disease Surveillance in the Baltic Sea Region
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a notifiable disease in all the countries in the region except Denmark and Sweden. In Sweden, a voluntary TBE reporting system gives a satisfactory picture of the incidence in the country.
The TBE virus is transmitted to man by tick bites and persists in natural foci where it circulates among vertebral hosts, mainly rodents. These foci are usually stable and exist in most of the Baltic Sea region, especially the Baltic countries, land Islands, southern Germany and the southeastern costal parts of Sweden. In recent years new, small foci have been identified on the Bornholm Island and in the Southern Norway.
Workers and tourists travelling to endemic areas are at risk of exposure to ticks and contracting the disease.
Protective clothing, repellents and vaccination are the important preventive measures used in TBE endemic areas. Recommendations for use of the vaccine vary from country to country. In Latvia, children in high endemic areas are offered free TBE vaccines.