In around 1% of cases tick-borne encephalitis can be deadly. It is a virus carried by ticks, which can cause brain swelling and neurological damage.
The period between March and November is when most people get infected, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). Ticks become active when the temperature reaches 7 degrees. May, June and July are peak months.
So far this year, 322 cases of tick-borne encephalitis have been reported, around 20% more than across all of 2017 and 1.7 times more than in 2008.
The worst affected cantons were Zurich (59 cases), Bern (48), St. Gallen (30) and Aargau (27).
Other tick-borne diseases are on the rise too. 12,700 people have been diagnosed with Lyme disease so far in 2018.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine for tick-borne encephalitis. Unfortunately, there isn’t one for Lyme disease.
The FOPH provides maps of encephalitis hotspots and Lyme disease hotspots – Lyme disease is shown everywhere except at high altitude.
Swiss Federal Office of Public Health press release (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
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