Tick-borne encephalitis in Sweden
The summer months are great for exploring Scandinavia. What many people don’t realise is that vaccinations against Tick-borne encephalitis should be considered if your travel plans take you out into the countryside. If you plan on spending time in forested areas, particularly around Gothenburg, Upland, Sodermanland and the Islands around Stockholm, you could be at risk of the disease.
What is Tick-borne Encephalitis (TBE) ?
TBE is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system. It is spread via the bite of a tick, or by ingesting unpasteurised milk and dairy precasts from animals that carry the diseases. Transmission season is usually in the summer months between April and October. There is an effective vaccination available against tick borne encephalitis to prevent the disease. It requires 2 vaccinations 14 days apart with a booster dose given 1 year later.
Other countries that have a risk of the disease include Eastern and Western Europe, Russia, Finland, China and Japan.
In addition to the vaccination, preventing tick bites is really important, especially if you plan to do outdoor activities such as camping, hiking in rural areas during transmission seasons.
You can prevent ticks by:
- Wearing DEET insect repellent with a minimum of 50% DEET concentration.
- Wearing long trousers and tucking them into your socks, and shirts with long sleeves.
- Treating clothes with permethrin.
- Inspecting your body for ticks and removing them promptly.
- You can purchase out Ultimate Bug Kit.
All travellers going to Sweden should ensure that they are in date with their routine immunisations including diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP) and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
Some travellers may be recommended to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B.
Although rabies is not present in terrestrial animals in Sweden, bats can still carry the virus. Those travellers who plan on exploring caves, such as in Abisko in Lapland may wish to consider being immunised against rabies prior to travel.