GR5: Tick-borne Encephalitis


I must admit that I may have previously missed the fact that there is Tick-borne Encephalitis (TBE) within the Mont Blanc region but for Judy Armstrong mentioning it on her excellent site.

Edit 01 October 2011: TBE is apparently now endemic to some areas of Switzerland (though not around the TJR by the looks of it). As it happens, LB’s cousin got it last year. He’s a very fit, healthy thirty-something but it’s severely affected him for months so far. Very unpleasant!

However she says that you need to have the first vaccination at least six months in advance of your trip which doesn’t tally with the information in The Green Book from the UK Department Of Health.

Unfortunately, the highest risk factor is thought to be hiking in infected areas.

If contracted, between 1 and 2 people in 10 will have brain damage and 1 in a 100 will die.

We’ve had vaccinations for it since we spend so much time in Sweden, where it is far more prevalent. But even without that, the possible consequences of getting it are so serious that I think we’d have had them anyway.

You need two jabs to start. The first confers some protection but if the second is given only a fortnight later it will confer around 90% protection. But a fortnight is the very earliest that you can have the second. Ideally, the second jab should come between one and six months after the first. That second jab should then bring you up to full immunity.

The third comes after a year, and gives immunity for a further three years. Although the UK advice is to renew three yearly the Swedish advice states that it can be renewed every three to five years (and here).

In Austria TBE jabs are apparently part of the standard set of vaccinations that everyone receives but they’re not generally available from your GP in the UK.

Instead you’ll need to go to a private travel clinic. Your GP’s surgery will be able to tell you where the nearest is.

5 Replies to “GR5: Tick-borne Encephalitis”

  1. Good information

    Should we be looking for these jabs for Scotland? I must have picked up over thirty ticks in the last two weeks on the TGO Challenge.

    Cheers fella,

  2. Congrats on completing another Challenge Alan!

    Ah – no perhaps I should have been more careful to make a distinction there!

    We don’t have TBE in the UK currently.

    We have to watch for Lyme disease. Which is a bacterium (rather than a virus as in TBE’s case) and so can be treated with antibiotics if caught in time (“in time” would be if you develop a “target lesion”: a white centre with a red ring. Even if you’ve not seen a tick – go to the doc’s and persuade them you need antibiotics!)

    I should have dug up a link to the Tick Alert map.

    Or better yet Baxter have a bigger one.

    Thirty of the buggers! Ick…

  3. Thanks for that Dave

    I am thinking of doing Amsterdam to Nice so it looks like I am going to need the jabs.

    I hadn’t realised about the extent of the problem.

    Thank you and have a good trip.

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