Prevention of tick-borne diseases

Hundreds of cases of tick-borne encephalitis and thousands of cases of Lyme disease are registered in Lithuania every year. The risk of contracting these diseases in the territory of Lithuania is considered high.
People can get infected when bitten by an infected tick. Ticks typically attach onto the neck or behind the ears in children, and onto the groin, armpits or in the area of bending of the legs and arms in adults.
Unpasteurized goat and cow milk can also be infected with tick-borne encephalitis.

The most reliable protection against tick-borne encephalitis is vaccination. The tick-borne encephalitis vaccine, which is up to 98% reliable, can be used to vaccinate children from the age of one year. Vaccination is given in three doses, but a faster vaccination scheme is also available. There is no vaccine against Lyme disease. An effective and safe method to keep ticks off is proper clothing and the use of repellents (tick repellants). When going to the forest, wear light-colored clothes (the upper part of the clothing should be long-sleeved, with cuffs that fit well around the wrist; the bottom of the trouser legs should also fit well). It is advisable to wrap your head with a scarf or wear a well-fitting hat. After returning indoors check thoroughly for ticks. Hang the clothes you were wearing in a sunny place or a warm separate place (ticks survive for a very short time in dry air).

Repellents protect against mosquitoes or other blood-sucking arthropods that can transmit infectious diseases, and reduce the risk of being bitten while working or relaxing outdoors. The most effective active ingredient in repellents is DEET (diethyltoluamide). Before using the repellent, it is necessary to read the instructions on the use of the product and the manufacturers' advice. Repellents with a higher concentration of the active substance ensure longer protection.
For children, be sure to use only products intended for children.

The only effective way to fight against ticks is ecological. It consists of creating unfavorable conditions for ticks to survive.

This includes maintenance of parks and forests:

  • Sanitary logging
  • Removal of worthless bushes
  • Mowing from early spring
  • Removal of plant debris. This is especially applicable to city parks, recreation sites, camps, motels and other recreation areas.

It also includes reducing the rodent population.

If you find a tick on you, try to remove it as soon as possible. Do not use oil or other substances before pulling it out – the tick will only suck deeper. When pulling with tweezers, do not rotate the tick in all directions, but pull with a sudden movement. A tick has a mouth covered in hooks that they use to get under the surface of our skin and attach themselves, and when the tick is removed it may remain in the skin. After removing the tick, the bite site must be disinfected. It is not worth taking the removed tick to the laboratory for examination - there are no effective preventive measures that can help protect against the tick, even if it was infected.

What you have to do, is observe your health. If the symptoms of the infection appear, contact your family doctor and tell her/him about the tick bite and the time when it happened.

Last updated: 16-05-2023