In 2021, the United States approved the use of a vaccine called TICOVAC or TicoVac for tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). People in Europe have been using this vaccine effectively for more than 20 years.
Is Tick-Borne Encephalitis in the U.S.?
Tick-borne encephalitis is not endemic to the United States. There have only been six patients in the past decade where TBE was identified, and in every case were people who traveled to Europe or Asia. A person contracts the virus either by being bitten by an infected tick or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy products from an infected animal.
Who Should Get the TBE Vaccine?
You should consider getting the TBE vaccine if you’re traveling to areas of Asia and Europe if most of your activities are outdoors, especially if you’re doing all this between April and November, when ticks are most active.
Speak with your healthcare provider early before you get ready to travel, as the vaccine requires three doses to complete the series. The vaccine is available to everyone age one or older.
Is TicoVac a Live Vaccine?
TicoVac is an inactivated type of vaccine, and it contains particles that have been carefully grown under controlled conditions and then killed to destroy any disease-producing capacity. This is in contrast to a live vaccine, which typically uses a much-weakened living pathogen.
How Does the TBE Vaccine Work?
Like most vaccines, the TBE vaccine works by training a person’s immune system to recognize and combat viruses and bacteria. Antigens and specific molecules from the pathogen must be introduced to create a response from the immune system.
The most common reactions from the injections are localized tenderness or pain at the injection site. A little slightly more severe reactions include fatigue and muscle pain.
How Long Does the Tick-Borne Encephalitis Vaccine Last?
The primary course of vaccination takes three doses over five months. If ongoing exposure to TBE is an issue (meaning you’ve decided to live in the woods of Europe), a booster shot may be necessary after at least three years.
Is the TBE Vaccine Safe?
The TBE vaccine TikoVac was first approved in Europe in 1976 and is well-documented to be effective. It is safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, though it is only recommended when deemed essential and only after weighing benefits against risk.
How Effective is the Tick Vaccine?
There have been field studies conducted in Austria, where 85% of the population had received at least one dose of the TBE vaccine, and the vaccine has shown 95%-99% effectiveness. There have been rare cases of inadequate vaccine response in people older than 50 and those who are immunocompromised.
Call East End Tick Control® for Peace of Mind Tick Prevention
Want to protect your family from ticks and the diseases they carry? Contact us to discuss mitigation options. Since 1997, East End Tick and Mosquito Control® has been Suffolk County’s most trusted tick control company. For 25 years, we have been using the most effective extermination methods to protect yourself and your family. Request a free estimate now or call our Southampton office at (631) 287-9700, our East Hampton office at (631) 324-9700, or our Southold office at (631) 765-9700.