Popović Dragonjić et al.
Fatal case of imported tick-borne encephalitis in South Serbia
Trop Med Infect Dis. 2022;7(12):434. doi:10.3390/tropicalmed7120434
In Serbia, ticks infected with TBE virus have been detected in some regions of the country and several TBE cases have been reported. However, no TBE vaccines are available in Serbia.
Recently, a fatal case of imported TBE in a Serbian resident who was exposed to a tick bite during a visit in Switzerland has been reported. The patient, a 58-year-old male, was visiting his family in St. Gallen in Switzerland. After hiking in a forested area, he removed a tick from his body, and seven days after the tick bite, the patient developed the first signs and symptoms of disease: headache, malaise, pain in the lower back. Seven days later, he developed difficulties in speaking and swallowing. The symptoms developed and the patient was admitted to the hospital.
TBE IgM antibodies were detected in serum and CSF, and later, TBE IgG antibodies were measured. The patient was reallocated via helicopter to Serbia for future treatment. A complete list of laboratory examinations has been presented in the article. On day 60, the patient died.
This case illustrates a fatal consequence of insufficient vaccine supply in a European country and stresses the necessity of introducing immunization against TBE in persons travelling to highly TBE-endemic areas.