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What is Tick-Borne Encephalitis?

Also known as TBE, this disease is a potentially life threatening virus spread from tick bites or from consuming unpasteurized milk or cheese products.  Cows, sheep, and goats can become infected and pass the disease to people through their milk.

Not everyone who is exposed to the virus becomes sick, but, for those that do develop symptoms the illness can be mild to severe.  Dangerous swelling of the brain (encephalitis) requires hospitalization and may also result in seizures, confusion, and difficulty speaking. 

TBE is a risk for travelers engaging in activities like hiking and camping in forested areas throughout Europe and Asia
Hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities in Europe increase your risk for TBE. Consider the TicoVac vaccine before travel

Where is TBE Found?

There is a wide geographic distribution of cases across western and northern Europe as well as northern and eastern Asia.

Most infections occur in forested areas involving outdoor activities like hiking, camping, cycling, and birdwatching.  Because ticks are active during warmer months, the majority of cases occur April through November.

How Do I Protect Myself?

Because there is no specific treatment for TBE, the best prevention for travelers at higher risk is vaccination. Additionally, avoid tick bites and do not eat or drink unpasteurized (raw) milk or cheese.  Use insect repellants on exposed skin containing DEET and apply permethrin to clothing and gear as an additional barrier. Refer to specific recommendations from CDC.  

TicoVac Vaccine for Tick-borne encephalitis

Approval for a TBE vaccine by the FDA came in 2021 and is now available for use in the United States.  While the TBE vaccine in the US is a recent development, similar vaccines have been in use in Europe and Asia for decades with more than 75 million doses administered.

TicoVac can be given to travelers 1 year and older in a series of three injections.  A smaller pediatric dose is given to those 1 year through 15 years and the adult dose to those 16 years and older. 

Keep in mind, the TBE TicoVac vaccine does not protect against Lyme Disease, which is a different type of tick disease in the US.  TicoVac protects only against a virus transmitted by ticks found in Europe and Asia. 

Camping, hiking, and trekking through Europe and Central Asia puts you at risk for Tick-Borne Encephalitis. Protect against infection with the TicoVac vaccine

Other Travel Vaccines for Europe

Protect your health against other common illness found in Europe with early vaccination including, Hepatitis A, Measles, and Pertussis (Tdap). Some vaccines are given as a single dose while others required multiple visits to fully protect.  And once you are fully immunized, some vaccines like Hepatitis A and Measles protect for a lifetime. 

Where  Can I Find the TicoVac Vaccine for Tick-Borne Encephalitis? 

Appointments are available at three convenient Massachusetts locations; Call or book online at the Braintree – South Shore, Natick – Framingham, or Springfield – Longmeadow location.