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Health officials in Switzerland are warning about the dangers of tick-borne meningitis. More people have caught the disease in 2017 than in the last 10 years combined. Officials are urging anyone over the age of six to be vaccinated.
214 people have already contracted meningitis across Switzerland. Two of those people died because of the viral strain of the disease, while more than half of those infected were hospitalised. Viral meningitis is not treatable by antibiotics but it can be vaccinated against.
The spread of the disease has been caused by an above-average number of ticks, due to a colder than usual winter spell.
If you are planning a trip to Switzerland, particularly the hot spot higher risk areas of Neuchatel and Biel in Eastern Switzerland, look out for ticks. Doctors in Switzerland are advising travelers to have a meningitis vaccination before coming to the country, particularly if you are planning to go hiking. If you show signs of the symptoms check in with a health professional immediately.
A helpful app has been developed by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences which shows where cases of meningitis have been reported over the last couple of years.
Lyme disease is also relatively common is Switzerland with between 6,000 and 12,000 cases reported every year. However, few people develop serious illness as a result.
While hiking be extra vigilant and guard against ticks by wearing longer clothing and checking both your clothing and your body for ticks after your hike. . You must also ensure that when removing the tick, the entirety of the body comes out, otherwise you leave yourself open to infection.