Just in time for tick-season, a fast-track vaccine is now available in Prague

Vaccination can help protect against tick-borne encephalitis which can bring on severe health complications.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 02.06.2022 17:56:00 (updated on 02.11.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

This article was written in cooperation with Canadian Medical. Read more about our partner content policies here.

Tick season crawls onto the calendar from early spring to autumn. If you live in the Czech Republic this is important information to know as approximately one out of every ten ticks is infected with some type of the two most common transmittable illnesses: Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.

Prevention – wearing long sleeves and protective clothing or using tick repellant when outdoors – and proper tick removal are important safeguards but vaccination is becoming an increasingly common way of preventing tick-borne encephalitis (a vaccine for Lyme disease is currently in development in the U.S. but isn't yet approved).

The tick-borne encephalitis vaccine is usually administered during the winter months only, however, it can be administered year-round (although winter is recommended). Canadian Medical is now implementing a fast-track vaccination program over the summertime months. In the fast-track program, the second dose is administered just 14 days after the first vaccine. The third and final dose is given after five to 12 months.

The fast-track tick vaccine can be administered from 6 years of age but strictly upon your pediatrician's approval. Patients seeking the vaccine should only get a jab at a time when they are healthy and haven't taken antibiotics in the previous two weeks. Setting aside a recovery time of 48 hours after the vaccine is necessary and a top-up vaccine is recommended after three years, and every five years after that.

From January 2022, all people over the age of 50 (who have Czech health insurance) are entitled to free vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis. The standard price for this vaccine is around CZK 800–900. Health insurance companies varying amounts (Czech public health insurance, for instance, reimburses CZK 500 to adults over 18 and CZK 700 for children under 18.)

Two of the most common tick-borne illnesses are encephalitis and Lyme disease, also called Lyme borreliosis. A recent study by biotech firm Protean, which examined over 12,000 ticks, found that 10.27 percent were infected with Lyme disease, and another 2.65 carried the encephalitis virus.

Tick bites can cause severe health consequences. Complications from encephalitis include chronic headaches, sleeping disorders, issues with concentration and balance, depression, tremors, and paralysis of facial muscles or limbs.

While tick-borne encephalitis is an infectious disease of viral origin and can be vaccinated against, Lyme disease is of bacterial origin and can only be treated with antibiotics. It is often accompanied by muscle and joint pain, headache, fatigue, or fever.

Even if after taking precautions, you still discover a tick Canadian Medical experts recommend covering the area of the bite and the tick itself with an alcohol-based disinfectant (avoid application of any type of oil or ointment!) and letting it soak for a couple of minutes. After disinfecting the area, use small tweezers to remove the tick by grasping it as close to the skin as possible and using a gentle side-to-side motion to carefully remove it.

Anyone who's bitten by a tick and starts to experience flu-like symptoms within four days up to two weeks should see a doctor. Symptoms to be concerned about include fever, headache, muscle ache, fatigue, and malaise. Keep an eye on the site of the bite, and if a red area with a diameter of 3–5 cm develops, seek immediate medical attention.

This article was written in collaboration with Dr. Dalibor Stoszek, a general practitioner at Canadian Medical. Canadian Medical provides care in Prague and Brno at eight clinics and has expanded its services with an inpatient department equipped with two state-of-the-art operating rooms.

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