Tick-borne Encephalitis (TBE)

What is TBE?

TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) is a viral disease transmitted by ticks. Not every tick is a carrier of the virus and not every infection leads to disease. If the virus is transmitted,  a small number of patients can develop meningitis, paralysis and sensory disturbances. In these rare cases, the damage often proves to be irreversible and can be fatal. Severe disease is rare, but increase with the age of the infected person. TBE should not be confused with bacterial Lyme disease, which can also be transmitted by ticks.


When and how often should I be vaccinated against TBE?

In recent years, the number of cases of TBE in Switzerland has increased, which is why the TBE vaccination is recommended for all persons over the age of three throughout Switzerland - except in Ticino and Geneva. It takes two vaccinations with a minimum interval of one month to ensure protection for one year. The timing of the third vaccination depends on the TBE vaccination used and provides protection for up to 10 years.

What else should I know about the TBE vaccine?

  • Even though the vaccination is often described as a "tick" vaccination, the vaccination does not protect against tick bites, but only against the TBE virus transmitted by these ticks.

  • In some of our neighboring countries, other vaccination intervals apply. In Germany and Austria for example, a booster vaccination is recommended every 3-5 years, depending on age.

  • Currently there is no vaccination against bacterial Lyme disease. About 20 years ago there was a vaccine in the USA called LYMERix®, which was taken off the market due to a lack of demand and poor efficacy.

  • For more information, visit the website of the FOPH or HealthyTravel.

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