The unseasonably warm weather in Denmark kick-started the tick season early this year and now the disease-carriers have reared their nasty heads in the news.
According to the State Serum Institute (SSI), four cases of the lethal disease Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE) were documented last year – twice on Bornholm and for the first time in Funen and Jutland.
“We’ve known that TBE can turn up because antibodies have been found in deer across most of Denmark. But there hasn’t been any proven cases among humans in Funen and Jutland before,” said Peter Henrik Andersen, a doctor with SSI.
“Additionally, the ticks had great conditions in 2018 due to the long, hot summer. It was also reflected in the number of other tick-borne infections with the borrelia bacteria last year, but people generally shouldn’t be afraid of being bitten.”
TBE is very rare in Denmark, and from 2015 to 2017 there were only two cases documented: one each in 2015 and 2016.
The virus is feared because about a third of those infected sustain serious inflammation of the brain, which can lead to permanent damage. In Denmark, vaccination is only recommended for people spending extensive time in forests or off the beaten path on Bornholm
The most common tick-derived illness is borrelia, which is estimated to be carried by about 15 percent of all ticks in Denmark. If bitten, keep an eye on the bite mark to see if a red-ringed rash about the size of a five kroner coin breaks out. If it does, contact your doctor.