The epidemiology of infectious diseases in Europe in 2020 versus 2017-2019 and the rise of tick-borne encephalitis (1995-2020)

Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2022 Sep;13(5):101972. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2022.101972. Epub 2022 May 23.


Health control measures instituted in 2020 to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic decreased the case numbers of many infectious diseases across Europe. One notable exception was tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). In Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic, the upturn was significantly higher compared to the average of the three years previously (P<0.05), with increases of 88%, 48%, 51%, 28%, and 18%, respectively. Six countries reported TBE incidences of ≥5 cases/100,000, defined as highly endemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Possible factors contributing to this surge may include increased participation in outdoor activities in endemic regions and increased tick counts/tick activity. In highly endemic regions, the WHO recommends that vaccination be offered to all age groups, including children.

Keywords: COVID-19; Climate change; Epidemiology; TBE; Tick; Vaccine.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Communicable Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Encephalitis Viruses, Tick-Borne*
  • Encephalitis, Tick-Borne* / epidemiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pandemics
  • Viral Vaccines*


  • Viral Vaccines