Tick-borne encephalitis: features, treatment and prevention of the disease


Since the first warm spring days, many go to parks, to reservoirs, to the country. It allows not only to have a good rest. The reverse side of the coin is often "acquaintance" with bloodsuckers and tick-borne encephalitis, which is fraught with various dangerous consequences.

Concept term

What is this disease? Under this term is understood infectious disease, which implies damage to the spinal cord and brain. These processes are caused by the work of the flavivirus, which is transmitted to a person by ixodic mites. 

How can you get it? It's clear. From the bite of the tick squad Ixodida. Sometimes this disease is compared to borreliosis, but it is not quite correct. Despite the similarity of the ways of infection, the course and treatment of the disease is fought on a different scheme.

Most Often spring-summer encephalitis is common:

  • in East Asia including China and Mongolia;
  • in the far East;
  • in Siberia;
  • in countries located on the Scandinavian Peninsula.

Outbreaks in Eastern Europe, especially in forest regions, are Common. On the territory of the Russian Federation annually there is a huge number of cases of this infection. About 5.5 thousand episodes.

Meningoencephalitis is a vector-borne infection that has different manifestations. Most often it is convulsions, fever, vomiting, headache, paralysis, pain occurring during the location of the nerves, disorders in the coordination of movements, sluggish paresis.

Classification of tick-borne encephalitis

Classification of encephalitisClassification of encephalitis

What forms of tick-borne encephalitis stand out? It is accepted to classify the disease according to the main signs of its manifestation. So called 3 main forms of the disease:

  • meningeal encephalitis, in which there is damage to the membranes of the spinal cord and brain (about 30% of all victims are faced with this type);
  • fever type when fever predominates (characteristic phenomenon for half of infected);
  • focal variant, in which brain substances are involved in the process and neurological symptoms of focal type develop (this form is diagnosed in 20% of the victims).

Symptoms of tick-borne encephalitis

What is this virus? The pathogen does not immediately allow itself to be detected. First comes the incubation period. The hidden stage lasts from 1 to 2 weeks. However, sometimes there are instantaneous reactions to the bite of a bloodsucker. In such situations, from the process of infection to the appearance of the first signs take only 1 day.

There are Also protracted forms of meningoencephalitis, when the incubation period stretches to 1 month.

What happens at the hidden stage? At this time, the virus particles are actively multiplying where they got into the human body. This is usually the wall of the intestine or skin wound. Then they go into the bloodstream, for by what they are able to disperse throughout the body. Usually just at this moment it is possible to understand that with health there is something wrong.

The Second stage of reproduction of the virus occurs in the internal organs. In this case, the pathogen can be concentrated in:

  • liver;
  • CNS;
  • lymph nodes;
  • kidneys.

Regardless of the form of infection at an early stage, the signs will be common. Usually the disease begins acutely. Most often, the patient can clearly name the day and even the hour when the process was "started". 

Symptoms of encephalitisSymptoms of encephalitis

The First symptoms are very similar to flu. Signs are expressed by lethargy, headache, aching muscles, chills, arthralgia, weakness. Sometimes they are added to convulsions and vomiting, which occur together with a sharp increase in body temperature. Especially these symptoms are characteristic of the child.

When the examination begins, you can find dilated blood vessels in the proteins of the eyes and redness of the skin in the neck, face, clavicles.

Every form of infection, the further development of the process has its own characteristics. So we need to go back to the classification.

In meningeal form

The Main manifestations of meningeal type of spring-summer encephalitis are vomiting, severe headache, hypersensitivity of the skin. Even touch clothing causes discomfort or pain. Another common symptom is the Kernig effect. That is, the patient can not arbitrarily straighten the leg in the knee, being in a position on the back.

Among other signs of marked neck stiffness. Because of this, the head itself is thrown back. Symptoms of Brudzinsky in the lower and upper body are also noted. If the doctor tries to put pressure on the pubis or tilt the head of the victim's chin to the chest, hip and knee joints are reflex flexion of the limbs.

On that point to these manifestations of virus? Only that it reached the membranes of the brain and spinal cord. In this case, all symptoms, accompanied by fever, last about 2 weeks. After the decline of high temperature for about 2 months, poor tolerability of loud sounds and bright light, lethargy, depressed mood, weakness persist.

With feverish the form of

Fever in encephalitisFever in encephalitis

How is the feverish type of meningoencephalitis manifested? The disease in this form occurs against the background of a feverish state. Usually it is stretched to 2-10 days. Most often, the signs are manifested by the wave type. That is, at first the temperature jumps sharply. Then all clinical signs subside. Then the disease seems to come back together with the fever.

Through 10 days usually all of this disappears. Body temperature's returning to normal. But lack of appetite, weakness, increased sweating and attacks of rapid heartbeat can torment the patient 3.5-4 weeks.

In focal form

The Most difficult course of the focal form of the disease. By the way, the saddest forecasts also in this category of patients. The fact is that in this disease, the pathogen penetrates into the substance of the spinal cord and brain. Infection manifests itself in view:

  • severe lethargy;
  • vomiting;
  • a sharp rise of temperature up to 40 degrees or more;
  • convulsions;
  • sleepy state;
  • chills.

Also, the focal form is so affected the substance of the brain that may experience delusions, hallucinations, impaired perception of time and space, disorders of consciousness. When the mechanism begins to involve the barrel the brain, where the centers are concentrated, which are responsible for the basic vital functions, there are failures of cardiac activity and breathing.

When the virus gets into the tissue of the cerebellum, there are tremors in the extremities and impairment of sense of balance. Next, the pathogen affects the spinal cord. This process is associated with paralysis of the muscles of the upper chest, shoulders, epiglottis, neck. There are sluggish paresis.

Focal form of encephalitis may occur radiculitis, dysfunction of internal organs, pain, skin sensitivity disorder.

This variant of tick-borne encephalitis is often characterized by a two-wave nature of the course. At the same time, the first stage resembles a feverish form, after which the body temperature normalizes, and after a few days all the symptoms sharply worsen.

The Doctors noted a progressive form of encephalitis. Its danger is that it can start after any of the the above varieties of the virus. Moreover, it can find itself in a few months or years after the acute stage of the disease.

Diagnosis of tick-borne encephalitis

Diagnosis of encephalitisDiagnostics encephalitis

As you can understand, the route of transmission viral encephalitis is very simple - the insect bite. But in any case, it is difficult to diagnose the disease only by symptoms. There are several factors to consider:

  • laboratory tests;
  • clinical manifestations;
  • and epidemiologic information.

In Order to ascertain the tick-borne encephalitis and its proper treatment, you must consult the doctor who carried out a professional diagnosis. 

The Doctor (neurologist) will take into account not only the characteristics of the disease, but also examine the victim, as well as prescribe the necessary tests. This takes into account epidemiological data. Therefore, it is so important to tell the doctor honestly how and where the insect bite was received. If the patient tried to extract it on their own, it should also be noted.

As for laboratory tests, the polymerase chain reaction technique is used to establish an accurate picture. Also effectively allow the diagnosis of serological methods, when it is possible to determine the titer of antibodies in paired sera obtained from the patient. They are taken at intervals of 2 weeks.

Treatment Features

Many people are interested in whether tick-borne encephalitis is treated in adults and children. Yes! But it is worth noting at once that the treatment is carried out strictly in hospital conditions. Send the patient neurology, not infectious disease. Why? The fact is that the spread of flavivirus man - a dead end link. 

The Disease is not able to be transmitted from the patient with enciphalitis to other people.

What does the treatment of human encephalitis include? Therapy of the disease is divided into 3 main blocks:

  • pathogenetic - blocking of disease development processes;
  • specific - focused on the destruction of the pathogen;
  • symptomatic - aims to eliminate associated symptoms.

The Patient must comply with strict bed rest. The scheme is signed each time individually, as the doctor takes into account the time elapsed since the first signs of infection.

The first week is the normally used tick immunoglobulin. Its introduction is carried out within 3 days. Nevertheless other antiviral drugs are effective at an early stage. For example, ribavirin, ribonuclease, potato shoot extract, interferon.

If the disease is diagnosed too late, all these drugs do not work. In such a situation, doctors direct all forces to eliminate pathological processes that can threaten human life. Appointed neuroleptics, ventilators, if breathing is disturbed, drugs to increase the resistance of the brain to oxygen starvation, diuretics means.

Prevention of tick-borne encephalitis

Prevention of encephalitisPrevention of encephalitis

Is it Possible to prevent tick-borne encephalitis? Yes, for this purpose it is proposed to carry out special organizational activities. All residents and guests of endemic areas should clearly know the rules of outdoor recreation and visiting forests. Especially during the activity of insects.

What does include such rules:

  • Wearing clothing that covers almost the entire body well (i.e. with long pants and sleeves + hats).
  • Applying insect repellent before the walk clothing.
  • Systematic thorough examination of the body and clothing to reveal a live bloodsucker.
  • If you find a tick stuck urgent appeal for help in a medical institution.

This cheat will allow you to avoid suckling bloodsuckers.

The Other option is prevention - vaccination. Passive (also called emergency) immunization involves the introduction of a special drug to people who have not previously stopped. It is carried out when an insect bite and involves the use of immunoglobulin.

But there is also active immunization. In this case, the vaccination is done 1 month before the start of the period of activity of mites to residents of those areas where insects are widely common. 

What drugs are used? And are they effective? Here is a list of popular drugs, each of which really helps:

  • Encevir;
  • Tick-E-Wack;
  • Encepur;
  • FSME-Immune.

Despite the Fact that all drugs are accompanied by instructions for use, there is a recommendation to be vaccinated only in medical institutions. Doctors will talk about the side the effects and contraindications of each drug and warn of possible complications.

How Many acts such a vaccination? Vaccination is usually carried out in 2 stages. 2 administration of the drug is carried out at intervals of six months. That is a shot you need to do in the fall and spring. 

But also widespread vaccination under the accelerated scheme. In this case, the injection is done only in the spring, before the season of ticks. The difference between the vaccines is 1-2 month's.

Revaccination is obligatory in a year.

What's the price of vaccination? The cost is quite variable. The price for 1 dose of the drug from tick-borne encephalitis ranges from 1 to 4.5 thousand rubles.

Today, not only are vaccinations against tick, but issued insurance against Contracting tick-borne encephalitis. It, of course, does not make it possible to avoid complications and consequences from the insect bite, but allows you to get help in the organization of medical services or monetary compensation in case of insurance risk.

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