Increase in reported cases of tick bite disease, Lyme borreliosis

TicksTicks.Photo: Jon Eeg / Scanpix

119 people have contracted Lyme borreliosis after being bitten by ticks so far this year in Norway. More than half of them live in the Agder region.



Figures from the Institute of Public Health (FHI) show that last year, 410 cases of Lyme borreliose were reported after tick bites. This was an increase of 88 cases over 2014, and 154 cases in 2012, reported Fædrelandsvennen newspaper.

Although there have been several cases of borreliosis in recent years, only 2% of those bitten catch the disease.

The disease hits hardest in Sørlandet. 60% of those who’ve caught borreliosis as a result of tick bites so far this year, have caught it in the Agder counties. Figures from 2016 show that Hordaland and Rogaland have also been exposed to the disease.

‘Statistically, the chance of getting sick after being bitten by ticks is relatively low, but it still happens quite often. If you live in southern Norway, you are more exposed’, said Randi Eikeland, a specialist in neurology employed at the naval center at Sørlandet Hospital, to Fædrelandsvennen.

The disease has different characteristics. Skin rashes, arthritis, and neurological symptoms are common, wrote the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH – Folkehelseinstituttet – FHI). At worst, the disease can lead to permanent neurological damage and cognitive failure.

The Tickborne Encephalitis Virus (TBE) is far more dangerous, but less common. In 2016, 12 cases of this virus were reported in Norway, reported Fædrelandsvennen. TBE can lead to meningitis, visual disturbances and paralysis.

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today