They are small but can cause great inconvenience. The peak season for ticks is approaching and with it the risk of contracting TBE. The disease is caused by a virus and can lead to inflammation of the brain. A new report from the Public Health Agency of Sweden shows that the number of cases remained high in 2022, but no more than the record year 2021.
"The whole trend is that we are getting more cases gradually year by year," says Anders Lindblom, state epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency of Sweden.
Last year, a total of 467 cases were found in 117 municipalities. In eleven of these, no cases have previously been reported.
"The spread in Sweden is increasing. From having been primarily located on the east coast before, it is spreading west and north. We see some new municipalities where we have not had the spread of infection in previous years.
Here TBE occurs in Sweden
Geographically, there is an increased risk of being infected from Dalälven, Gävle municipality, and south in Sweden. How great the risk is varies greatly from municipality to municipality and city to place.
Is there a risk that the occurrence will creep more northwards?
"We have seen this and it may be due to climate change, a warmer climate, it is mainly on the Baltic Sea coast that it is spreading northwards.
How to avoid being bitten by a tick?
How many people will be affected this season cannot be predicted. But if you spend a lot of time in nature, there are some things to keep in mind for preventive purposes:
"The most important thing is to make sure you don't get bitten by a tick. Full-coverage dressing is a good way, often they are found in tall grass. Then it's important to look at your body and clothes when you've been out in nature," says Anders Lindblom.
How long does a tick have to sit to infect with TBE? Start the clip and get answers to three questions.