So viele FSME-Fälle wie im Vorjahr gab es in Tirol noch nie. Übertragen wird diese Krankheit von Zecken.
© Patrick Pleul
Innsbruck – In times of Covid-19 with a lot of leisure activities in nature and little foreign tourism, the TBE vaccination is more important than ever in Austria. Last year there was a record high with 215 diseases. Experts said this at an online press conference on Wednesday.
The figures, as Rudolf Schmitzberger, Head of the Department for Vaccination Matters of the Austrian Medical Association, explained: “Early summer meningo encephalitis is the most common virus-induced encephalitis in Europe. In 2020 the number of cases in Austria was at an all-time record high of 215 cases. ”In 2019 there were 108 reported illnesses (hospitalizations), and in 2018 154 TBE cases were registered. Climatic conditions and, in 2020, the changes in leisure time behavior due to Covid-19, including increased vacation in Austria, are likely to have been the causes.
51 cases in Tyrol
The hotspot for the “tick disease”, the prevention of which there has been an annual vaccination campaign for around 30 years, was Tyrol in 2020 with 51 cases – more than ever before. Then Upper Austria followed (50). “There were three people in whom the disease was fatal,” said Schmitzberger.
In the event of an infection with the TBE pathogen after a tick bite, severe disease symptoms are relatively common. Bettina Pfausler, neurologist at Innsbruck University Hospital: “30 percent of those infected have no symptoms. About two thirds develop a disease, half of them with neurological symptoms. Half of them develop meningitis (meningitis; note) with headaches, high fever and nausea, among other things. In 40 percent, the disease progresses dramatically with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain; note). “Involvement of the spinal cord and the brain stem is particularly difficult, which is reminiscent of polio in the symptoms. A significant proportion of those affected suffer permanent damage.
Last year, 105 patients (49 percent) in Austria were diagnosed with a serious illness in which the central nervous system (CNS) was severely affected. 20 patients had a particularly severe course (acute inflammation of the brain or the nerves of the spinal cord). 90 percent of them were over 50 years old.
The only protection is and remains vaccination. The Viennese travel and tropical medicine specialist Herwig Kollaritsch: “The subject of ‘herd protection’ cannot be addressed at TBE. Only those who are vaccinated have protection. ”The effectiveness of the TBE vaccination is extremely high. The expert: “We know that with a proper vaccination coverage, the frequency of ‘vaccination breakthroughs’ (illness despite immunization; note) is less than one percent.”
14 days between TBE and Covid vaccination
Immunization is therefore urgently recommended, especially in times of Covid-19. “The two vaccinations against TBE and against Covid-19 do not ‘get into each other’s hair'”, said Kollaritsch, who at the age of twelve was once diagnosed with TBE himself. “I was in the hospital for four weeks, had paralysis in my legs for weeks and migraines for decades,” said the expert. We recommend an interval of 14 days between the two vaccinations, but not because of possible interactions, but only to be able to differentiate between vaccination reactions to one of the two vaccines in case of doubt.
The basic vaccination consists of three partial vaccinations (two of them in the first year at intervals of one to three months, the third about a year after the second partial vaccination). For people over 60 years of age, a shorter refreshment interval of three years applies, below it is five years. Then a further dose of vaccine is sufficient. This also applies to people who have been refreshed above the recommended interval.
This year’s TBE vaccination campaign will run until August 31, as Gerhard Kobinger from the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists explained. The health insurance companies grant subsidies that are deducted immediately when the vaccine is bought in the pharmacy. Vaccines for adults (FSME-Immun FSPR and ENCEPUR FSPR) cost 35.80 euros in pharmacies (instead of 49.85 euros). The vaccines for children cost 31.30 euros (also reduced). The contribution paid by health insurance companies is deducted immediately upon purchase. (APA, TT.com)