By NewsDesk @bactiman63
Finland health officials (THL) report the vaccination program against tick-borne encephalitis will be extended to Luoma area in Kirkkonummi and to a part of the Sipoo archipelago. There has been a significant increase in the incidence of the disease in these areas during the five years of monitoring.
Permanent and holiday residents over the age of three in the area are entitled to vaccinations under the national vaccination program. Information on organizing the vaccinations will be communicated separately for each municipality.
In addition to the new areas, free TBE vaccinations will continue to be given in the Åland Islands, Pargas, Simo, southern parts of Kemi, the Kotka archipelago, the Sammonlahti district of Lappeenranta, on the island of Preiskari close to Raahe, in the Lohjanjärvi archipelago area and in Kustavi.
In 2020, a total of 91 cases of tick-borne encephalitis were reported to THL’s Infectious Diseases Register. The number of reported cases increased slightly compared to previous years. Sixty-nine cases of TBE were reported to the Infectious Diseases Register in 2019, 79 in 2018 and a total of 85 cases in 2017.
The TBE vaccine protects only against the tick-borne encephalitis caused by a virus. The vaccine does not protect against other diseases transmitted by ticks, such as Lyme disease, and it does not prevent ticks from attaching to the skin. All diseases spread by ticks can be prevented by protecting oneself against tick bites.
“When you spend time in nature in areas where ticks are found, you should use light-coloured clothes with long sleeves and long trousers and tuck the trousers into your socks. An insect repellent that works against ticks gives additional protection,” says Researcher Sari Huusko from THL.
“In addition, a tick checks once a day or straight after you have been outdoors in nature and removing ticks as soon as you notice them reduce the risk of Lyme disease,” Huusko continues.