Health officials have reported an increase in the number of cases of Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) throughout Switzerland in 2018. According to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), 150 cases of TBE have been reported in 2018, including 73 cases in the month of June alone. In addition, 6900 cases of Lyme disease have been confirmed in 2018, out of a total of 21,300 medical visits following a tick bite. Swiss health officials have advised people to take precautionary measures against ticks.
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of the infected blackleg tick. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash called erythema migrans. The disease can spread to the heart, lungs, and nervous system if left untreated.
Typical encephalitis can be spread via tick bite, with symptoms including headache, fever, aches in muscles or joints, fatigue or weakness. The symptoms of the more serious Japanese encephalitis include fever, headache, vomiting, confusion, difficulty moving, swelling around the brain, and coma.
To avoid tick bites, individuals should use insect repellent when outdoors and wear long sleeve shirts and pants when walking in densely wooded areas. Check for ticks after hikes and remove them immediately if discovered.