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Surveillance Open Access
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Abstract

Background

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is the most common viral central nervous system (CNS) infection in Poland. Previous research suggests that its incidence was underestimated in the pre-pandemic period. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a considerable burden on surveillance systems, which could further impact reporting.

Aim

We aimed to assess the completeness of reporting of TBE in the years 2008 to 2020 and explore the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on reporting to the epidemiological surveillance system, compared with hospitalisations for TBEV and other viral neuro-infections.

Methods

We compared the Polish epidemiology of TBE and other viral infections of the CNS from national surveillance reports with data on hospitalisations from 2008 to 2020 and data from selected European countries.

Results

Between 2008 and 2020, 3,016 TBE cases were reported to surveillance compared with 3,620 hospitalisations. There was an increasing trend in hospitalisations, while surveillance data demonstrated the opposite, with the largest discrepancy observed in the first pandemic year (354 hospitalisations vs 159 cases reported to surveillance). Serological testing for TBE was used more in the known endemic region of north-eastern Poland and less in non-endemic areas. Other European countries reported higher TBE case numbers and an increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas Poland observed an opposite trend.

Conclusion

The sensitivity of TBE surveillance in Poland requires improvement. There are considerable regional differences. Regions that test for TBE intensively report most cases. Policymakers should be made aware of the value of quality epidemiological data for planning prophylactic measures in risk areas.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.18.2200452
2023-05-04
2024-07-22
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2023.28.18.2200452
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