We reviewed tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) surveillance and epidemiology in Germany, as these underlie public health recommendations, foremost vaccination. We performed descriptive analyses of notification data (2001–2018, n = 6063) according to region, demographics and clinical manifestations and calculated incidence trends using negative binomial regression. Risk areas were defined based on incidence in administrative districts. Most cases (89%) occurred in the federal states of Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria, where annual TBE incidence fluctuated markedly between 0.7–2.0 cases/100,000 inhabitants. A slight but significantly increasing temporal trend was observed from 2001–2018 (age-adjusted incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.02 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01–1.04)), primarily driven by high case numbers in 2017–2018. Mean incidence was highest in 40–69-year-olds and in males. More males (23.7%) than females (18.0%, p
= 0.02) had severe disease (encephalitis or myelitis), which increased with age, as did case-fatality (0.4% overall; 2.1% among ≥70-year-olds). Risk areas increased from 129 districts in 2007 to 161 in 2019. Expansion occurred mainly within existent southern endemic areas, with slower contiguous north-eastern and patchy north-western spread. Median vaccination coverage at school entry in risk areas in 2016–2017 ranged from 20%–41% in 4 states. Increasing TBE vaccine uptake is an urgent priority, particularly in high-incidence risk areas.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited