Doubling of cases of tick-borne encephalitis reported

All parts of Switzerland are concerned except Geneva and Ticino. Keystone / Sigi Tischler

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has received 215 reports of tick-borne encephalitis in Switzerland since the beginning of the year. 

This content was published on July 13, 2020 - 14:39
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This is more than twice as many as last year, when 97 cases were reported. Ticks are known to be most prevalent during the summer months. It is likely that favourable weather conditions, coupled with social distancing rules, have prompted many to venture into forests, the FOPH says by way of explanation. It is also possible that semi-confinement measures have prevented some people from being vaccinated.  

The estimated number of consultations in June for a tick bite has surpassed the number logged in 2018, a record year. All cantons except Geneva and Ticino have been affected. 

The FOPH points out that the vaccine is a good counter-measure to tick-borne meningoencephalitis (TBE). It is recommended for adults and children, generally from the age of six, who are staying in a high-risk area.  

Ticks can also transmit borreliosis, also known as Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected ticks. If left untreated, infection can spread to the joints, the heart, and the nervous system. There is no vaccine but most cases of borreliosis can be treated successfully with antibiotics taken over a few weeks. 

A free smartphone tick app developed by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences provides users with useful maps and tips on how to minimise the risk of being bitten by ticks.   

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