A new hot spot for tick-borne encephalitis (TBE): A marked increase of TBE cases in France in 2016

Abstract : OBJECTIVES: Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is a zoonotic agent causing severe encephalitis. In 2016, in Northeastern France, we faced a TBEV infection increase, leading to a warning from the Regional Health Agency. Here, we report the confirmed TBE cases diagnosed between January 2013 and December 2016, with particular emphasis on the year 2016. METHODS: A total of 1643 blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from everywhere in France, corresponding to 1460 patients, were prospectively tested for anti-TBEV-specific IgM and IgG antibodies by ELISA. Additional 39 blood and CSF samples from patients with suspected Lyme neuroborreliosis were retrospectively investigated. RESULTS: The TBEV seropositivity rate was estimated to 5.89% and 54 patients were diagnosed as TBE-confirmed cases. A significant increase in TBE cases was observed during the year 2016 with 29 confirmed cases, instead of a mean of eight cases during the three previous years (p=0.0006). Six imported cases and 48 autochthonous cases, located in the Alsace region (n=43) and in the Alpine region (n=5) were reported. Forty-six patients experienced neurological impairment. Nine patients showed an incomplete recovery at last follow-up (from 15days to eight months post-infection). TBE diagnosis was performed earlier for patients taken in charge in the Alsace region than those hospitalized elsewhere in France (p=0.0087). Among the 39 patients with suspected Lyme neuroborreliosis retrospectively investigated, one showed a TBEV recent infection. CONCLUSION: The TBE increase that occurred in France in 2016 highlights the need to improve our knowledge about the true burden of TBEV infection and subsequent long-term outcomes.
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Aurélie Velay, Morgane Solis, Wallys Kack-Kack, Pierre Gantner, Marianne Maquart, et al.. A new hot spot for tick-borne encephalitis (TBE): A marked increase of TBE cases in France in 2016. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, Elsevier, 2018, 9 (1), pp.120-125. ⟨10.1016/j.ttbdis.2017.09.015⟩. ⟨inserm-02375024⟩

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