High number of TBE
So far in Sweden there's been an extraordinarily high number of TBE (Tick-borne encephalitis) cases. More cases, in fact, than last year, which was deemed a record year for TBE.
“There’s been an unusually high number of cases,” confirms Marika Hjertqvist, epidemiologist at SMI (Smittskyddsinstitutet or the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control). “68 cases compared to last year’s 58.” It is during the peak of summer that most people are fallen ill from the tick-borne infection. But the statistical peak often comes later, when the infected person shows symptoms, seeks medical care and gets the infection confirmed. The area around Vänern has lately been especially infested. The disease runs through the entire country though, according to Hjertqvist, mostly south of Dalälven. Why are some years worse than others when it comes to TBE?
“Well, first of all there must be plenty of ticks,” says Hjertqvist. “And that in turn requires a lot of deer for the ticks to suck blood from.” Lack of deer, however, especially after winters with lots of snow, may still increase TBE: Ticks then get extra hungry and look for humans for blood. This is what happened last year. Symptoms of TBE include high fever, severe headache, and in some cases convulsions and paralysis. Most people recover completely.
Cases of TBE:
Stockholm: 28,
Uppsala: 8,
Sörmland: 12,
Östergötland: 2,
Jönköping: 1,
Kalmar: 3,
Skåne: 2,
Västra Götaland (including Vänern): 7,
Värmland: 2,
Västmanland: 1,
Jämtland: 1,
Gävelborg: 1.
In Jämtland and Gävleborg, both of which are located north of the natural border of TBE, the people got infected elsewhere. Source: Smittskyddsinstitutet (the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control).