Tick-borne encephalitis is a brain inflammation caused by the TBE virus that is transmitted through a tick bite. It can cause fever, vague nausea and a feeling of sickness for about a week, after which less than a third of affected people get the actual brain inflammation after a week without fever. Treatment of brain inflammation may require hospitalisation and may cause long-term neurological complications.
The national immunisation programme for tick-borne encephalitis will expand this year to areas north of Lake Lohjanjärvi and to the Kustavi area. In addition to these, free TBE vaccinations will continue in the Åland Islands, Parainen, Simo, the southern districts of the city of Kemi, the Kotka archipelago, the Sammonlahti district of Lappeenranta, the southwestern part of Lake Lohjanjärvi and the island of Preiskari off Raahe. In addition, a vaccine purchased at one's own cost is recommended for people who move around in the wild in areas with a significant risk of tick-borne encephalitis.
The number of cases of tick-borne encephalitis reported to the National Infectious Diseases Register has slightly decreased over the last two years. It is has been estimated that without vaccination, the incidence of the disease would have increased significantly as the active season of ticks has been prolonged by climate change. However, the TBE vaccine does not protect against tick bites or the more common tick-borne disease, borreliosis, which is why daily tick inspections are recommended in areas affected by ticks.
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