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The number of tick-borne encephalitis cases decreased slightly last year – Espoo Suvisaaristo included in the national vaccination program



According to the Infectious Diseases Registry of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), a total of 123 cases of tick-borne encephalitis were reported in 2022, which is slightly less than the 148 cases in 2021. In previous years, there have been fewer than 100 cases.  

Based on the monitoring data from 2018 to 2022, the incidence of tick-borne encephalitis has been highest in the coastal municipalities of Parainen (46 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), Kustavi (41/100,000), the Åland Islands (38/100,000), and Lohja (16/100,000). Almost all infections have been detected in individuals who were not vaccinated. It is important to ensure vaccination coverage, especially for those living in areas covered by the national vaccination program.  

This year, the national vaccination program against tick-borne encephalitis will be expanded to Espoo Suvisaaristo. In addition to Suvisaaristo, TBE vaccinations will continue in the Åland Islands, Parainen, Simo, the southern districts of Kemi, the archipelago of Kotka, the Sammonlahti district of Lappeenranta, the Preiskari island off the coast of Raahe, Kustavi, the archipelago of Sipoo, and in Ojamo, Lylyinen/Hormajärvi, Vohloinen/Virkkala, and Kirkniemi in Lohja, as well as in Luoma and Masala postal code areas in Kirkkonummi.  

All permanent residents and long-term vacationers over the age of three in the area are eligible for free vaccination under the national vaccination program. The vaccination series includes three doses. It is recommended to start the vaccination series no later than the beginning of spring in order to receive two doses before summer. The third dose is given the following year. The vaccine is more necessary the more time is spent outdoors during the summer.  

THL also provides vaccination recommendations for tick-borne encephalitis risk areas outside the national vaccination program. This year, vaccination recommendations have been updated in Espoo, Hanko, Joensuu, Puumala, Raasepori, Rauma, and Uusikaupunki. Those who need vaccination in risk areas outside the national vaccination program will need to pay for the vaccination series themselves. Municipal case numbers and TBE vaccination recommendations can be viewed on THL’s website map application.  

The TBE vaccine only protects against tick-borne encephalitis. It does not protect against other diseases transmitted by ticks, such as Lyme disease, nor does it prevent ticks from attaching to the skin. All tick-borne diseases can be prevented by protecting oneself from tick bites, for example, by wearing protective clothing and performing daily tick checks.  



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