Ticks are in season again: sudden increase in TBE cases

“More than 50 percent of TBE cases occur in the 50-plus age group,” reported ÖVIH General Secretary Christoph Jandl. This shows that even older people, despite ten or more refreshers in their lives so far, still “have to refresh regularly”, said Gallo-Daniel, from the age of 60 every three instead of five years. The risk of damage to the brain and spinal cord increases with age to up to 86 percent of all TBE cases in over 75-year-olds. But there are also cases of illness and severe courses in children, emphasized Jandl.

TBE is a viral disease that can lead to inflammation of the brain, meninges and central nervous system. Around 30 percent of infected people actually become ill. The symptoms can last for weeks to months and, in severe cases, can lead to paralysis of the arms, legs or facial nerves and permanent damage. The disease is fatal in around one percent of those affected.

In the saliva of the tick

The TBE virus is in the tick’s saliva and can be transmitted immediately when it bites. Therefore, removing the animal quickly does not protect against TBE, but against Lyme disease, which is more commonly transmitted by ticks. It takes a few hours for the bacteria that cause the inflammation – so-called Borrelia – to get into the blood of the host after a sting. After flu symptoms, a rash at the injection site and also an attack on the central nervous system are possible. The disease can be treated with antibiotics and usually heals without consequences if treated in good time. There is no vaccination against Lyme disease yet, but it is being developed by the local vaccine manufacturer Valneva.

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