Evaluation of tickborne encephalitis case classification in Poland

Euro Surveill. 2005 Jan;10(1):23-5.


Central European tickborne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral disease of the central nervous system. Despite a surveillance system for TBE existing in Poland since 1970, there are no standardised case definitions and different diagnostic tests are used in various regions. The purpose of this study was to summarise four years of surveillance data using standardised case definitions. From 1999 to 2002, 607 cases of TBE were reported to Poland's national surveillance system: 386 (63.6%) were males, 331 (54.5%) lived in rural areas, and 186 (30.6%) were between 30 and 50 years old. Of 606 diagnosed cases, 453 (74.7%) had aseptic meningitis, 109 (18.0%) had meningoencephalitis, and 44 (7.3%) had meningoencephalomyelitis. Of the 607 reported cases, 602 (99.2%) could be classified: 153 (25.4%) as confirmed, 343 (57.0%) as probable, and 106 (17.6%) as possible cases. There was a significant difference in classified cases by gender: 28.6% of male cases were classified as confirmed, compared with 19.7% of female cases (chi2= 10.48, p=0.0053). There was a significant difference in case classification by clinical diagnosis: 32.4% of cases with meningoencephalitis were classified as confirmed cases, compared with 24.7% of cases with aseptic meningitis (chi2=11.79, p=0.019). There were also significant differences in the distribution by case definition group across geographical regions. For appropriate monitoring of TBE, a uniform and valid case definition should be used in European countries. With only 25% of reported cases meeting the definition for confirmed cases, there is a need for more complete follow-up and standardised testing of suspect cases.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Disease Notification / methods*
  • Disease Notification / standards
  • Encephalitis, Tick-Borne / classification
  • Encephalitis, Tick-Borne / diagnosis*
  • Encephalitis, Tick-Borne / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Assessment / standards
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Distribution
  • Terminology as Topic