There are particularly many cases of TBE this year. Vaccination protects against tick-borne diseases. Whether you are still immune can be determined by checking the titer – but the result can be affected by other vaccinations.
Due to tick-borne TBE infection, 30 people had to be hospitalized in Austria this year, five of them children, more than twice as many as at the same time last year.
TBE viruses belong to the group of flaviviruses – 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.
A specific test is required
Vaccines that protect against the disease must be stepped up regularly. Persons under 60 years of age: every five years, for the elderly, an interval of three years is recommended. However, because many do not know how long has passed since the last revaccination, titer checks are performed. Immunity after vaccination can be assessed by determining antibody titers.
If you want to have your titer checked before TBE vaccination, but you have already been in contact with other flaviviruses – whether through infection or vaccination – you should report this at the time of blood collection, says virologist Judith Aberle of the Medical University of Vienna.
In this case, it is necessary to use another antibody test, the so-called neutralization test. This is the only way to distinguish between antibodies against different flaviviruses. And in this case, specific tests against TBE are performed. If you do not, a laboratory result could determine immunity to TBE, even if it is not.