TBE has been a growing public health problem in Europe and other parts of the world for the past 20 years. In order to encourage working on the prevention of TBE, an international effort was launched in 1999: The International Scientific Working Group on Tick-Borne Encephalitis (ISW-TBE), composed of internationally recognized scientific expertsÂ â€“ including neurologists, general practitioners, clinicians, travel physician, virologists, pediatricians, ecologists and epidemiologists âˆ’ from more than 30 different European countries from TBEv-endemic and non-endemic regions.
Since then the ISW-TBE members have met annually. Every meeting is dedicated to a specific topic, which is then extensively discussed. Since 2004, a yearly conference report has been published to inform the scientific community about the latest developments.
Identified key problems & proposals of the ISW-TBE
- Increasing number of cases in many European countries
- Under-diagnosis of cases in some countries
- Still low vaccination rates in many European countries (endemic areas)
- Lack of information regarding distribution of the virus, the disease, assessment of tick bite risk
- Lack of awareness of local health authorities – lack of officially recommended vaccination
- Change of lifestyle: increasing leisure time spent in nature with increasing outdoor activities, increasing travel and mobility within Europe
Main aims of the ISW-TBE
- Promote national and international collaboration on TBE on scientific, medical and regulatory issues;
- Stimulate and co-ordinate applied and basic research on TBE;
- Contribute to training and educational programs in the field;
- Provide high-quality information on TBE and promote its dissemination;
- Promote and apply international standards on epidemiological TBE surveillance;
- Define and promote proposals to harmonize national and international policies on TBE prevention.