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How to tell the difference between tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease. From fatigue, headaches to tremors

Ticks have their season and you need to protect yourself from them. The most effective prevention against tick-borne encephalitis is vaccination. On the other hand, vaccination against Lyme disease is not possible. What are the symptoms of borreliosis and encephalitis? When to vaccinate yourself, when children? The diary provides answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Dispose of ticks by flushing them down the toilet, or send them to a laboratory for examination.

| Photo: Shutterstock

What is Lyme disease?
The most common infection transmitted by ticks in the Czech Republic. Transmission occurs about 24 hours after being bitten by a tick. Every year, doctors detect it in 3.5 to 4 thousand people.

What is Tick-borne encephalitis?
An inflammatory viral disease of brain tissue in which the virus can attack the meninges, brain and spinal cord. Transmission occurs within about two hours after being bitten by the tick. Doctors in the Czech Republic diagnose five to eight hundred cases of this infection every year.

How to properly remove a tick:


The longer the tick is attached, the higher the risk of infection.

The only correct procedure to remove the tick. It is also approved by rescuers

What can be vaccinated against?
Against tick-borne encephalitis. According to experts, it is the most reliable prevention to avoid the risk of developing the disease and permanent consequences. “If it were possible to increase vaccination coverage, it can be expected that there would be a significant decrease in the number of cases,” said Jan Kynčl, head of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases Department of the State Health Institute.

However, interest in vaccination is growing. Last year, for example, almost two hundred thousand policyholders of the largest Czech health insurance company over the age of fifty were vaccinated. “This is almost a third more than in the previous year,” pointed out the spokeswoman of the General Health Insurance, Viktorie Plívová. She reminded that from 2022, for people over fifty years of age, this vaccination is covered by public health insurance.

Source: Youtube

Other people, including children, pay for this vaccination, which costs approximately nine hundred crowns, themselves. However, they can request reimbursement from the prevention fund, which is offered by all seven domestic health insurance companies.

There is no vaccination against Lyme disease.

When to get vaccinated?
Vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis
consists of three doses administered by health professionals in either a standard or accelerated schedule. Experts recommend starting vaccination in the cold months, when the second dose is one to three months after the first. If a person misses the winter months, he can get vaccinated at another time. In an accelerated schedule, the second dose may follow as early as two weeks after the first.


A natural repellent made from the spice we know as cloves strongly repels ticks.

An effective repellent made from spices you have at home: it repels ticks and smells good

According to experts, a person is sufficiently protected for about three weeks after the second dose. But the third dose is also important, which follows with an interval of five to twelve months for both schemes. After that, it is good to get revaccinated after three years. Another revaccination is sufficient for children and adults under sixty after five years. But older people should get revaccinated every three years.

When to vaccinate children?
Hana Cabrnochová, general practitioner for children and adolescents and vice-president of the Czech Vaccinology Society of the Czech Medical Society JE Purkyně, recommends parents to have their children vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis usually after completing the basic vaccination. “Ideally at three years of age, when he comes for a preventive check-up, or any time later. Children at this age begin to be more out of their parents’ sight, and clingy tick so it may not be discovered and removed in time,” she pointed out.

How Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis manifest

Lyme disease

The infected person tends to be tired, his muscles ache, and his knee joint is often swollen. A more severe form is neuroborreliosis. It can cause severe head and back pain. The pain shoots from the spine to the limbs or abdomen. The infected may have difficulty hearing, dizziness or vision disturbances. The disease is also manifested by paralysis of the cranial nerves, especially the facial nerve.

In case of difficulties, you should see a doctor. “This disease can be treated with antibiotics, and most of our patients have disappeared within a year at the latest. Only a few percent had consequences for longer,” explained doctor Dita Smíšková from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Na Bulovce Hospital in Prague. However, an untreated infection can attack the nervous system or joints.

Tick-borne encephalitis

In healthy adults, doctors most often encounter combined inflammation of the meninges and brain. “It manifests itself, for example, in headaches, vomiting, speech and hearing disorders, tremors of the fingers and eyelids, balance disorders, sleepiness, confusion and other and more serious neurological symptoms,” explained Smíšková. The experience at Bulovka shows that up to a third of patients may have long-term consequences.

With the so-called postencephalitic syndrome, there are disorders of concentration and memory or permanent fatigue. The virus can also cause paralysis of the limbs or respiratory and swallowing muscles. Most often (but not only) in the elderly or chronically ill. However, many people do not visit a doctor, because the infection manifests itself as an acute virus, which disappears after about a week.

Vaccination contributions from the prevention fund

General Health Insurance Company: up to 700 CZK (against tick-borne encephalitis, contributions for other vaccinations can also be drawn)

Military Health Insurance Company of the Czech Republic: children up to 1,500 CZK, adults up to 700 CZK (for various vaccinations)

Czech Industrial Health Insurance Company: children up to 1,500 CZK, adults up to 1,000 CZK (for various vaccinations)

Professional health insurance company: up to 1,000 CZK (for various vaccinations + up to 500 CZK against the flu)

Škoda employee insurance company: up to 2,100 CZK, of which 700 CZK per dose (against tick-borne encephalitis, contributions for other vaccinations can also be drawn)

Health Insurance Company of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic: up to 2,000 CZK (for various vaccinations for children and adults, the parent can additionally provide the child with up to 500 CZK from their contribution)

RBP, health insurance company: up to 1,000 CZK (for various vaccinations, for children and people over 60, the limit from another insured can be combined)

Source: Health insurance companies

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