TBE: what is important for title control


This year the cases of TBE are particularly numerous. Vaccination protects against tick-borne diseases. Whether you are still immune can be determined by a titer check, the result of which may, however, be influenced by other vaccinations.

Thirty people, five of them children, had to be hospitalized this year in Austria due to a tick-borne TBE infection, more than double the same time last year.

TBE viruses belong to the flavivirus group: TBE is therefore closely related to yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever and West Nile virus. These viruses often cause serious diseases such as inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.

Specific test required

Vaccination that protects against a disease needs to be stepped up regularly. Under 60: Every five years, a three-year interval is recommended for older people. However, as many do not know how long it has been since the last booster vaccination, titer checks are carried out. Immunity after vaccination can be assessed by determining the antibody titer.

If you want a titer check done before a TBE vaccination, but have already had contact with other flaviviruses, whether by infection or by vaccination, you should announce this at the time of collection, says virologist Judith Aberle of the University of Medicine of Vienna.

In this case, another antibody test, a so-called neutralization test, must be used. This is the only way to distinguish between antibodies to different flaviviruses. And in this case, specific tests against TBE are carried out. Otherwise, the lab result could determine immunity to TBE, although this is not the case.

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