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Tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis (EE) is a severe natural focal viral disease, one of the viral infections of the human central nervous system, which affects the brain, its coverings or peripheral nerves.
How is it transmitted?
EE is caused by the tick-borne encephalitis virus (EEV), which is transmitted by tick ingestion or through milk:

In Europe and Lithuania, the EEV virus is mostly spread by Ixodes ricinus ticks. A nymph or an adult tick can transmit the virus to a person.
Less commonly, tick-borne EE can be contracted by consuming unpasteurized cow's and goat's milk and its products. EEV is killed by boiling milk for 2 minutes and at 70ºC within 5 minutes.
Symptoms of the disease
A person can feel the first symptoms of tick-borne encephalitis 1-2 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. About 80 percent in some cases, the course of the disease is two-wave.

During the first phase of the disease, which lasts 1-8 days, non-specific symptoms appear: fever, bone, muscle, headache, fatigue, general weakness, less often - dyspeptic or upper respiratory tract symptoms.

After the first stage, there is a period of "apparent recovery", which can last 1-33 days, usually 5-8 days. If this period lasts about 24 hours or the person does not feel improvement, then the disease is monotonic.

During the second phase of the disease, symptoms of damage to the central nervous system (CNS) and inflammatory changes in the cerebrospinal fluid are detected. Symptoms appear during this period: nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, dizziness. A stronger form of the disease manifests itself in disorders of consciousness, balance and coordination, and damage to the cranial nerves.

Vaccines against tick-borne encephalitis
The most effective preventive measure against tick-borne encephalitis is vaccination. Tick-borne encephalitis vaccines can be given to children over 1 year of age. It is advisable to start vaccination in winter or early spring, while tick activity is lower.

There are two types of vaccination schedules: routine and accelerated. In a typical vaccination schedule, the first two doses are given every 1-3 months, and the third dose can be given 5-12 months later. from the second dose. The accelerated vaccination schedule is applied just before or during the active tick season. The second dose can be given at least 2 weeks after the first dose, and the third can be given 5-12 months later. from the second dose.

It is worth noting that if the vaccination process is interrupted after the first dose of the vaccine, the scheme must be started again, because the immunity is not yet fully formed and the chance of getting EE remains.

For patients under the age of 60, repeated vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis is recommended 3 years after the end of the first course. They should be repeated every 3-5 years.

We recommend vaccines against tick-borne encephalitis to everyone, especially if you spend a lot of time, vacation or picnic in wooded areas, work in forests, fields, or engage in agriculture.

Diagnosis of Lyme disease
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by Borrelia bacteria. It is transmitted to humans by ticks infected with Borrelia bacteria, which have previously been ingested by wild animals. Lyme disease is most often transmitted to a person when the tick remains attached for 24 hours or more.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can be felt within a month of infection and include rashes, fever, chills, fatigue, headaches and other body aches, neck stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes. If not treated in time, other signs of chronic Lyme disease may appear: migratory erythema, joint pain, neurological problems.

When infected, the human body produces antibodies. In the early stage of the disease, the body produces antibodies of the IgM class, later it begins to produce antibodies of the IgG class.

Blood tests for Lyme disease are recommended at least 2 weeks after tick ingestion. The test for the level of IgG antibodies in the blood is used in the later stages of the diagnosis of the disease and during the treatment of Lyme disease.

Removal of the infected tick
When you notice an infected tick, it is important to react and remove it as soon as possible. It does not matter whether a person has been vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis, it is necessary to remove the parasite and not forget to monitor his well-being. If you experience cold and flu symptoms in the coming weeks, or develop a red round spot indicating Lyme disease at the tick bite, contact your family doctor or an infectious disease doctor.

In order to extract the infected tick yourself, you will need to use disinfected tweezers. With tweezers, carefully grasp the body of the tick as close to the head as possible. With a firm grip, pull the tick sharply towards you - this way the body and head should come out together. If the tick's head remains in the skin, wait for the body to remove it by itself. Do not forget to wash the affected skin area with water and disinfect it.

It is important to mention that oil or other creams and ointments should not be applied to the infected tick. The tick begins to suffocate from the fat, so it releases almost twice as much poison.