Ticks are active during spring, summer and autumn in Sweden. Although so far this year only a few TBE cases have been reported, it is high time for people who will be staying in risk areas to take a stand on vaccination before this year’s tick season. This is in accordance with the recommendations from the regions’ infection control units.
The cases of TBE are now reported from Gävle municipality and southwards, and have gradually spread westwards. In 2021, the incidence increased in virtually all regions. Therefore, it is important to take a position on vaccination according to the regional recommendations that exist where you plan to be, says department head Britta Björkholm.
A total of 533 cases of TBE were reported in 2021. This is the highest number of cases at national level reported in Sweden. Compared with the previous year, this is a doubling. Most cases were reported in September and the majority became infected in Sweden.
The large increase in 2021 is probably due to several different factors, such as:
- An increase in the small rodent population during the year 2020, ie forest voles and forest mice.
- Favorable weather conditions for ticks and humans to meet each other outdoors
- The pandemic may also have contributed to more people staying out in the wild than usual and risking being bitten by ticks
Ticks usually thrive in grass and shrub vegetation, especially where it is humid. They are active during spring, summer and autumn. As ticks often take quite a long time to choose a suitable bite site, the following advice can reduce the risk of being bitten by a tick:
- Check the skin and clothing regularly to detect and remove any ticks.
- Inspect your entire body after staying in the tick area.
- Full-coverage clothing partially protects against tick bites.