If you’re traveling to Europe or Asia, especially between April and November, you may need to receive the TicoVac vaccine to prevent contracting tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Some ticks found across Europe and Asia are carriers of the tick-borne encephalitis virus, which can lead to brain and spine infections, numerous lifelong complications, and potentially, even death. Rarely, this disease is also spread to people who eat raw (unpasteurized) milk or cheese from infected cows, goats, and sheep. There’s no cure for TBE, so, for certain trips, the TicoVac vaccine may be very important. Travel Medicine Consultations provides tic-borne encephalitis vaccine to travelers at risk for the disease.
What is Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE)?
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infection transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected tick. Some ticks found across Europe and Asia are carriers of the TBE virus, making them extremely dangerous. The TBE virus primarily affects the brain and spinal cord. It can cause severe inflammation and swelling, leading to life-threatening symptoms, potentially life-long complications, and death.
Quick facts about tick-borne encephalitis:
- Ticks infected with the TBE virus are found in 30+ countries across Europe and Asia.
- TBE-infected ticks live in or near forested areas and are most active from April to November.
- There is no cure or treatment for TBE.
- TBE cannot be treated with antibiotics.
- 66% of people infected with TBE never develop symptoms.
- 10% to 50% of individuals infected with TBE suffer from lifelong complications.
- Between 1% and 20% of infected people will die from TBE.
Signs and symptoms of tick-borne encephalitis:
- Muscle pain
- High fever
- These symptoms may resolve after a few days. Then a second “phase” may develop with more severe symptoms.
- Severe weakness
- Severe lethargy
Long-term complications of tick-borne encephalitis:
- Speech problems
- Imbalance problems
- Lack of coordination
- Memory loss
- Inability to concentrate
- Mood changes
- Cognitive problems
- Muscle weakness
- Permanent paralysis
Tips to prevent tick-borne encephalitis:
- Avoid spending large amounts of time outdoors in tick-infested areas of forests from April to November
- DO NOT eat unpasteurized (“raw”) dairy products
- Wear light-colored clothes
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers
- Tuck your trousers into your socks
- Use tick and insect repellants (How To Avoid Bug Bites)
- Check your body for ticks
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove ticks immediately
- Get vaccinated with TicoVac
Countries with the highest risk of TBE virus:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
What is TicoVac?
TicoVac is an extremely effective vaccination for individuals with a high risk of tick-borne encephalitis. It has been used for over 20 years in Europe,TicoVac is FDA-approved for preventing the TBE virus in individuals over 1 year of age. It consists of a series of three shots.
How effective is TicoVac?
TicoVac is an extremely effective vaccine for the prevention of tick-borne encephalitis. It has a demonstrated effectiveness of 96% to 99%.
You need TicoVac vaccine if you:
Are traveling to an area with TBE and plan on spending significant amounts of time outdoors in or near forested areas, particularly between April and November.
When should I get the TicoVac vaccine?
You should complete the primary TicoVac Immunization Series at least one week before you travel to Europe or Asia.
How Many TicoVac Vaccines Do I Need?
- The series consists of three vaccines:
- The first dose given on day 1.
- Then, a second dose 2 weeks to 3 months later.
- Then a third dose 5 to 12 months after the second dose.
- For children under 16, dose timing varies slightly and requires a half dose of the adult strength.
- A booster dose can be administered 3 years later if you are still at risk for exposure to TBE.
What are the side effects of the TicoVac vaccine?
The most common side effects of the TicoVac vaccine include injection site tenderness, local pain, headache, fever, fatigue, muscle pain, and restlessness.
Is TicoVac a Live Vaccine?
TicoVac Vaccine in NYC
Travel Medicine Consultations is a medical clinic dedicated to helping individuals travel the world well-prepared with information and protection against infectious diseases. Dr. Julian Klapowitz asks in-depth questions about your travel plans and recommends the ideal prescription medications and vaccinations to keep you safe. If you’re traveling to Europe or Asia, especially between April to November, we highly recommend the TicoVac vaccine to prevent the dangerous tick-borne encephalitis virus. Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Julian Klapowitz before your trip for more information.