National vaccination programme against tick-borne encephalitis extended to limited areas in Kirkkonummi and Sipoo

Publication date 9 Mar 2021

There is no vaccine against ticks.

This year, the vaccination programme 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 programme.  Information on organising 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.

Tick-borne encephalitis is found especially in the archipelago and coastal areas

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.

Based on the monitoring data from the period 2016–2020, as in previous years, the incidence of tick-borne encephalitis was the highest in the coastal municipalities Pargas (49 cases per 100,000 residents) and Simo (37/100,000), in the Åland Islands (28/100,000) and in Kustavi (22/100,000).

The vaccine is recommended to individuals engaging in nature activities in the risk areas

THL monitors the incidence of tick-borne encephalitis by municipality on the basis of case numbers and incidence rates. However, as the cases of TBE are often limited to small geographical areas, more specific incidence rates based on post code areas are also calculated to support risk assessment.

It should be noted that in more than 80 per cent of Finnish municipalities, no TBE infections have been diagnosed during the monitoring period 2016–2020.

TBE vaccinations are recommended only to those who engage in nature activities in the risk areas. You can browse the number of cases and vaccination recommendations in each municipality in the map application available on THL’s website.

Protect yourself against tick bites

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.

Additional information

Map presentation of the incidence of tick-borne encephalitis and vaccination recommendations by locality (in Finnish)

What is tick-borne encephalitis? 
(THL, in Finnish)

TBE vaccine

Sari Huusko
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
tel. +358 29 524 8075
[email protected]

Tuija Leino
Chief Physician
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
tel. +358 29 524 8787
[email protected]

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