Tick – borne encephalitis

Travelling takes us out of our comfort zones and inspires us to see, taste and try new things. Unfortunately it does come with a few risks so don’t forget to look into the vaccines and medications required. The tick – borne encephalitis is one to consider for some countries.

What is Tick-borne encephalitis and how do you catch it?

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infection that’s spread by a type of tick, which looks a bit like a small spider. The infection is transmitted when an infected tick bites a human or animal. Ticks that spread the infection are mainly found in rural areas such as forests, woods, grasslands, riverside meadows, marshes, brushwood and scrublands in some European and Asian countries including Austria, Estonia, Croatia, Russia, China, Japan and some parts of the UK.

In rare cases, TBE can also be contracted through eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy products from an infected animal.

Signs and symptoms

Tick-borne encephalitis symptoms occur in two stages. First signs of TBE include flu-like symptoms such as:

  • High temperature
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle pain

On average, these symptoms last around eight days and most people make a full recovery. In around 20-30 percent of cases, people go on to develop more serious symptoms. This is when the virus has spread to the protective tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and the brain itself (encephalitis).

More serious symptoms can include:

  • Change in mental state
  • Confusion, disorientation or drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Inability to speak
  • Paralysis


The tick-borne encephalitis vaccination is administered via injection. The vaccination course consists of three doses, but sufficient protection for the ongoing tick season is to be expected after the first two doses, the second dose usually being given one to three months after the first. However, if time is short speak to our travel health pharmacist or clinician.

How long do TBE vaccinations last?

Following a course of three vaccinations, a first booster dose should be given after three years. For those aged between two and 60 years, subsequent boosters can be given five yearly if at continued risk.

For travelers over 60 years, boosters should be given every three years if at continued risk.

Travel & Immunisation Clinic

Signs and symptoms

Those who have picked up the cholera bacteria don’t always have symptoms, but these are some of the typical symptoms you should expect:

• Severe, watery diarrhoea

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Stomach cramps

Cholera symptoms can occur after just after a few hours, but generally develop within a few days of picking up the infection. If untreated, dehydration from severe diarrhoea and vomiting can quickly take effect, causing the body to go into shock because of a big drop in blood pressure.


If you are travelling to a country known to be affected by cholera, here are a few ways you can help protect yourself:

• Only drink boiled or sealed bottled water

• Avoid ice in your drinks and ice creams

• Wash (in safe water) or peel uncooked fruit and vegetables

• Avoid shellfish, seafood and salads

Practice good personal hygiene measures – always wash your hands in safe water before eating and visiting the bathroom


The risk to most travellers is very low and vaccination is usually only recommended in the following circumstances:

• Volunteers/aid workers/medical personnel in disaster relief situations where cholera outbreaks are likely

• Those travelling to work in slums/refugee camps or areas affected by natural disasters

• Those travelling to countries experienacing cholera outbreaks and where care with food and water is difficult or not possible

The drinkable cholera vaccine is given in two or three (depending on age) separate doses, taken from one to up to six weeks apart and completed at least a week before travelling.

Corporate Discount

We offer a 10% discount for our corporate customers and for all travellers in the charity sector. Whether you’re looking for corporate flu vaccinations or need travel vaccinations for your staff, our team of nurses and pharmacists can help. 

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