Tick-Borne Encephalitis

What is Tick-Borne Encephalitis?


Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infection transmitted by ticks and sometimes by unpasteurized milk.  It causes an infection of the brain and can be found in Eastern Europe and Russia.  While many people only get a fever and headache, up to 30% may develop a severe brain infection called encephalitis.

There is no medication to treat TBE.

Peak transmission in affected areas is between May and October. Prevention and early detection are key.



Tick precautions:

  • Cover skin with long sleeve shirts and pants. Consider treating outer clothing with permethrin product.
  • Tuck your shirt into your pants and tuck your pants into your socks.
  • Apply insect repellent that contains either 30% DEET or 20% Icaridin, to exposed skin and clothing when outdoors.
  • Walk on cleared paths and walkways.
  • After outdoor activities take a shower, do a full body tick check, put clothes in dryer on high heat for 15 minutes.



A vaccine against TBE does exist but it is only available in countries where the disease is present. It has not been available in Canada since 2014. Access to the vaccine can be arranged with a healthcare provider in the destination to which you travel.