Huge surge in tick-borne virus vaccinations

Close to 30,000 have this year got jabbed to protect themselves from TBE, a potentially fatal but rare disease

Every June without fail, stories circulate in the Danish media that ticks are transmitting the Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE) virus around Denmark.

And it’s true, the number of cases is still on the increase since the ticks somehow jumped over to the mainland from Bornholm between 2017 and 2019.

But the risk is low unless you spend long hours hugging trees. Last year, there were just 14 cases documented in Denmark, according to Statens Serum Institut. 

And of these, only five were proven to be infected in Denmark (four in northern Zealand, one on Bornholm) – the rest were attributed to tick bites sustained in Sweden, Latvia, Germany and Norway.

Close to 30,000
So, it might seem a bit of an over-reaction to note that 23,847 adults and 5,391 children have been vaccinated against catching TBE this year, according to SSI.

The numbers already surpass the total that got jabbed in 2022, and SSI has issued a plea to the public because if the high demand continues, Denmark will run out of vaccinations.

“It is encouraged you only get vaccinated if you regularly travel outside paths in scrub and vegetation in known risk areas for TBE such as Tisvilde Hegn and Bornholm,” SSI department head Tyra Grove Krause told DR.

Ticks are generally active between May and October – and the peak season lasts from July to September.

TBE contraction is no doubt dangerous but rare: it can ultimately cause death if not properly treated.