- What does the TBE vaccine contain?
- Who should receive the TBE vaccine?
- Which TBE vaccine is available?
- TBE vaccination schedule
- Side effects - TBE vaccine
The TBE vaccination is the only safe protection against an early-summer meningoencephalitis (TBE), a tick-borne viral infection. TBE vaccination should be carried out by anyone at risk of becoming infected with TBE. Several pharmaceutical companies offer a TBE vaccine. It can be administered by the family doctor or by a travel doctor. Read all important information about the TBE vaccine here.
ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in doctor's letters or on incapacity certificates. Z24A84
What does the vaccine contain?
Who should receive the vaccine?
Which vaccine is there?
What does the TBE vaccine contain?
The TBE vaccine consists of inactivated TBE viruses, pathogens that have been altered so that they can no longer trigger the disease. Nevertheless, they activate the immune system: The white blood cells (defense cells of the body) learn to recognize the virus by its characteristic features and to combat it efficiently. In a later true infection with the TBE virus, the immune system is then prepared and can quickly take defenses against it - before it comes to meningitis.
- TBE areas
- Causes and risk factors
- Examinations and diagnosis
- Disease course and prognosis
Who should receive the TBE vaccine?
In Germany, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is responsible for vaccination recommendations. There are usually once a year recommendations out who should be vaccinated against. In doing so, the RKI takes into account the likelihood of infection, the dangers of a disease and the efficacy and side-effect profile of different vaccines.
The TBE vaccine is recommended for the following people, according to RKI:
- People living or traveling in TBE risk areas. This also includes people who spend much of their free time in forest and meadow areas within TBE risk areas. When traveling abroad, it should be clarified in advance with a travel physician, if there is a risk of infection in the target area.
- Occupational groups that could be confronted with the TBE virus while working. These include, for example, foresters, agricultural workers and employees in medical laboratories.
Which TBE vaccine is available?
In Germany, two pharmaceutical companies offer a TBE vaccine (FSME-Immun, Encepur®). Both vaccinations are used equally. If possible, however, the same TBE vaccine should always be used for a vaccination regimen (basic and booster vaccines).
TBE vaccination schedule
The TBE vaccination scheme consists of a Primary vaccination and the regular Booster doses:
The primary immunization for the TBE vaccine consists of three injections. The first two injections are administered at intervals of one to three months, the third vaccine is given nine to twelve months after the second. For a short vacation in a TBE risk area, a two-injection vaccine can provide sufficient protection. The vaccine protection but only limited.
After the primary vaccination, the first TBE refresher is due after three years to continue to be prepared for TBE viruses. People younger than 50 years of age should then undergo a renewed TBE vaccination (refresher course) every five years. For older people, a TBE refresher every three years is generally recommended.
TBE vaccine: children
Although in children, tick-borne encephalitis is generally easier, vaccine protection is particularly important here. Because children often carry an increased risk of infection: they play a lot outdoors - in the woods and meadows - and are thus stung more often by ticks. TBE vaccination is the only real protection against TBE and should therefore be weighed up.
As with adults, children who live or travel in a TBE risk area should receive a TBE vaccine. This also applies to children under three years. Primary immunization and boosters follow a similar pattern to that of adults, but with a child-specific TBE vaccine.
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TBE - that's how dangerous the tick-biting disease is
If the thermometer climbs up in the spring, the ticks are in season. The bite of the eight-legged crawler not only itches, but can also be dangerous. In addition to Lyme disease, ticks can also transmit the much more dangerous TBE virus. Read here if you are particularly at risk and how you can protect yourself.
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Viruses in the brain
TBE is the abbreviation for tick-borne encephalitis. This is a form of brain or meningitis. The disease is caused by the TBE virus.The transmission to humans takes place through the saliva of infected ticks. The tick itself becomes infected with wild animals such as deer or squirrels, which often carry the virus but are not themselves affected. In 2016, 350 people in Germany fell ill with TBE - a record.
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Harmless to deadly
But not every tick bite leads to an infection. Depending on the risk area, only two to five percent of the ticks carry the virus. And even if the virus has been transmitted to humans, only up to a third of those infected will contract TBE. Nevertheless, it has the disease in itself: One in a hundred patients dies of their consequences. And much more permanent damage back.
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Some of those affected may suffer from concentration problems, paralysis, epileptic seizures or headaches for months or years after the illness. Some of these complaints can persist permanently.
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Two disease phases
About ten days after the onset, the first symptoms appear: first flu-like symptoms with fever, headache, vomiting and dizziness. Then the fever goes down for about a week (up to 20 days). Then it comes (in about ten percent of cases) to an inflammation of the brain and meninges. In 70 to 95 percent of cases, however, the infection is without symptoms or the second disease phase is missing.
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Protection from the bloodsuckers
The best protection against TBE is not to let the small arachnids on his skin. Wear light, closed clothes and use repellents. In addition, you should avoid undergrowth and tall grasses and stay on solid paths. Once a tick bite, the animal should be removed immediately, because the transmission of the malignant virus takes place immediately.
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Risk area Southern Germany
The TBE virus is widespread in forests and meadows in southern Germany: Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, southern Hesse and Thuringia are among the strongholds. But also individual counties in more northerly areas are affected - among others in Central Hesse, in the Saarland, in the Rhineland-Palatinate and in Saxony. However, there are also infectious ticks in other parts of Germany - but not so often.
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Should you get vaccinated?
In contrast to the also transmitted by ticks borreliosis there is a vaccine against TBE. It makes sense if you are often outdoors and living in a risk area or vacation. This also applies to foreign countries! Vaccination is via inactivated viruses. These activate the immune system without triggering the disease: The body's immune cells learn to recognize the virus, form antibodies and can react immediately in case of a later infection.
Side effects - TBE vaccine
As with any vaccine, side effects are possible with the TBE vaccine. But they do not occur by any vaccinated person. Overall, side effects in the TBE vaccine even rare and usually only of minor importance.
Most commonly, the TBE vaccine causes side effects such as headache or body aches in the first week after vaccination. In rare cases, vomiting or allergic reactions to the TBE vaccine may occur. About such allergies or other side effects should in any case inform the doctor before the next TBE vaccine.
There is some evidence that vaccination may play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases. The exact mechanism is unknown. Many vaccine opponents refer to this potential side effect and therefore refrain from the TBE vaccine (and other vaccinations). But they are taking the risk of contracting TBE and having severe consequences. The TBE vaccination is the only effective protection against TBE and the possible permanent damage of the disease.