Do I need to be vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis before vacation?  |  Ask the expert

Do I need to be vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis before vacation? | Ask the expert

Reader questionIf you go nature on vacation at home or outside, ask about the dangers of a particular area. Ticks, for example, can not only transmit Lyme disease, but also cause meningitis, warns pharmacist Sander van den Bogert.

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Sander van den Bogert: “Tick-borne encephalitis is meningitis that can be contracted through the bite of a tick infected with the TBE virus. An infected tick can rapidly transmit the tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus.” The difference with Lyme disease isTick ​​encephalitis cannot be prevented by removing ticks at night.

Tick-borne encephalitis is a serious disease Which can end up in the hospital for a long time. Some people experience neurological consequences. In a few cases you can die from it. This only happens to 1 to 2% of people who are bitten by such an infected tick.

For the Netherlands, the risk is low. Ticks have been reported in specific areas such as Sallandse Heuvelrug

TBE virus occurs in large parts of Europe and Asia. The GGD has been tracking infections in the Netherlands since 2016. Between 2016 and 2022, a total of sixteen cases of tick-borne encephalitis were known. So the stakes are low for the Netherlands. Most cases have been reported in specific regions such as Sallandse Heuvelrug. On the RIVM website are exact locations.

The vaccination provides 95 percent protection. A full immunization consists of three vaccinations given about six months apart. To maintain protection, a new vaccine must be given periodically.

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The vaccination must be prescribed by a doctor and is not covered by basic insurance. A full series of vaccinations costs about 150 euros. Side effects include fever, headache, tiredness, and pain at the injection site. Other precautions include the use of DEET, They wear covered clothes and do not walk among tall grass or bushes.

Briefly, If you go to an area where the risks are high and get out into nature a lotVaccination may be recommended. This advice also applies abroad. If you plan to spend hours in nature each day, get information about the hazards in that area.

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