Treatment & Prevention
There is no specific treatment for tick-borne encephalitis. Clinical management is supportive. Patients with severe meningeal symptoms often require pain control for headaches and antiemetic therapy and rehydration for associated nausea and vomiting. Patients with encephalitis require close monitoring for the development of elevated intracranial pressure, seizures, and inability to protect their airway.
Travelers should be counseled on how to prevent tick bites. This includes:
- Avoiding wooded and brushy areas in places where TBE is endemic.
- Applying insect repellents.
- Treating clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin or buying permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Finding and removing ticks before they have a chance to attach.
More information about reducing exposure to ticks is available on the CDC Ticks website. Travelers also should be advised to avoid the consumption of unpasteurized dairy products.
In August 2021, the FDA approved a TBE vaccine, TICOVAC (manufactured by Pfizer), for individuals aged 1 year or older. The primary vaccination schedule includes 3 doses, and a booster dose can be given if ongoing exposure or re-exposure to TBE virus is expected. TBE vaccines are also available in many countries overseas where TBE virus is present.
Please visit our TBE vaccine page for detailed information on vaccine recommendations, schedule, and dosing.