Recognition of factors that influence the formation of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) foci is important for assessing the risk of humans acquiring the viral infection and for establishing what can be done (within reasonable boundaries) to minimize that risk. In Slovenia, the dynamics of the TBE vector, i.e. Ixodes ricinus, was studied over a 4-year period and the prevalence of infection in ticks was established. Two groups of tick hosts were investigated: deer and small mammals. Red deer have been confirmed as having a direct influence on the incidence of TBE and rodents have been recognized as important sentinels for TBE infections, although their role in the enzootic cycle of the virus still remains to be elucidated. Last, forest and agricultural areas, which are influenced by human activity, are suitable habitats for ticks, and important for TBEV transmission and establishment. Human behaviour is also therefore an important factor and should always be considered in studies of TBE ecology.