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Tick-borne encephalitis virus in dogs - is this an issue?

Martin Pfeffer1* and Gerhard Dobler2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Animal Hygiene & Veterinary Public Health, Centre of Veterinary Public Health, University of Leipzig, An den Tierkliniken 1, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

2 Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Neuherbergstrasse 11, 80937 Munich, Germany

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Parasites & Vectors 2011, 4:59  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-59

Published: 13 April 2011


The last review on Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in dogs was published almost ten years ago. Since then, this zoonotic tick-borne arbovirus has been geographically spreading and emerging in many regions in Eurasia and continues to do so. Dogs become readily infected with TBE virus but they are accidental hosts not capable to further spread the virus. They seroconvert upon infection but they seem to be much more resistant to the clinical disease than humans. Apart from their use as sentinels in endemic areas, however, an increasing number of case reports appeared during the last decade thus mirroring the rising public health concerns. Owing to the increased mobility of people travelling to endemic areas with their companion dogs, this consequently leads to problems in recognizing and diagnosing this severe infection in a yet non-endemic area, simply because the veterinarians are not considering TBE. This situation warrants an update on the epidemiology, clinical presentation and possible preventions of TBE in the dog.