|10th ISW Meeting 2008|
Highlights from the International Press Workshop on Tick-Borne Encephalitis
The 10-th International Meeting of the International Scientific Working Group on Tick-Borne Encephalitis (ISW-TBE) took place in Baden near Vienna, Austria, in January 2008. Highly recognized experts from various European countries met to discuss the latest issues on TBE.
A press workshop prior to this meeting organized by the ISW stressed the raising public awareness of TBE and informed about the effectiveness of vaccination against this dangerous disease. Chairman Prof. Dr. Michael Kunze, Institute for Social Medicine, University of Vienna, Austria, discussed together with other TBE experts and journalists from various European countries how the ISW-TBE can supply the optimal support to raise TBE-awareness amongst the general public. In addition to this important topic it was also discussed how future ideas could be developed and how the ISW should ideally handle public affairs.
What makes ticks tick?
Jochen Süss, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, National Reference Laboratory for Tick-borne Diseases Jena, Germany
The necessity of ticks are three basic requirements, humidity rate, air temperature and a large number of blood delivering hosts and for well being, ticks are moving and changing to the worst areas in Europe. The number of TBE cases in all European countries (except Austria – vaccination rate by 88%) are increasing and most surprisingly TBE increased in Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland and Germany by 137.5% between 2002 and 2006.
Event tourism & tick borne encephalitis
DDr. Martin Haditsch
Institute for Hygiene, Microbiology and Tropical Medicine, Elisabethinen Hospital, Linz, and TravelMedCenter Leonding, Austria
Many parts of the world and especially Europe has been extremely popular for tourists during the last years. An increasing number of 13,000 cases required hospitalization of TBE each year. Nowadays’ tourism industry is growing and some of Europe’s countries are endemic of TBE and unfortunately there is still a big lack of awareness in the public about the potential risk when traveling in those endemic areas. According to this such as International Scientific Working Group on Tick-borne encephalitis (ISW-TBE), WHO and other official bodies are recommending that everybody – whoever is traveling to endemic areas – undergoes vaccination.
Fighting TBE – an Austrian Story of Success
Prof. Franz X. Heinz, Institute for Virology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
Austria has the highest vaccination rate in Europe, 88%, whereas 58% are within the recommended vaccination schedule. In contrast to other European countries shows the following figure. As a matter of fact it was shown by a recently published study that TBE vaccination has a very high protective effectiveness of about 99% and it doesn’t mean that vaccination coverage effects the circulation on the TBE virus in nature. Humans are only accidental hosts and the virus doesn’t depend on humans for survival.
Symptoms of the tick borne encephalitis patient
Professor Dr. Uta Meyding-Lamadé, Head of the Department of Neurology, Frankfurt, Krankenhaus Nordwest, Germany, Head of Neuroinfectiology, OMZ, University of Heidelberg, Germany
40 to 60% of the patients recall a tick bite 4 to 28 days prior to evolving symptoms. Those symptoms are characterized by low fever, headache, fatigue and muscle pain preceding onset symptoms with high fever, neck stiffness and disturbances of consciousness. Diagnostics procedures and clinical knowledge are getting more experienced by now – nevertheless there are still missing data with respect to all rare but typical manifestations.
The importance of social marketing campaigns & the Austrian way
Prof. Dr. Michael Kunze, Institute for Social Medicine, Vienna, Austria
A mass vaccination program made it possible to largely contain this severe disease. This success is the
result of two elements. Firstly a high effective vaccination and secondly a long term continuous social marketing program. Prevented services need to be promoted and has to be continued. Nevertheless one of the main future challenges will be the change to a general TBE vaccination for the entire population instead of the currently endemic regions.
Public Relation and Patient Service
Ms. Christine Freund – TBE Patient Advocady Group, Selbsthilfegruppe Zeckenopfer, Vienna, Austria
The strive of giving direct support to patients and their relatives in times of need. Some family members need 24 hour medical care and attention and it appears nearly impossible to find time to contact authorities or institutions and submit applications. Another focus of this organisation is to inform citizens of effective disease prevention such as presentations, information days and fairs. In countries where the awareness of the risk to get TBE is already high stories or case reports about patients or well-known testimonials can hit the target.