Compared to many countries in Europe, Sweden is not greatly affected by tick-related problems. However, when involved in any outdoor activity in Sweden during the summer, it is worth keeping in mind that the Swedish forests and grasslands do have ticks, with can carry associated diseases such as Borrelia and TBE (tick-borne encephalitis).
Cases of TBE are confined mostly to certain regions of the Stockholm Archipelago, though the disease also occurs in other areas and there are indications that these affected areas are expanding. While engaging in activities such as kayaking and camping, you should be aware of ticks during your trip (though note that you may often be camping in rocky areas, whereas ticks are normally found in grassy areas).
It is always a good idea to inspect your body carefully for ticks at the end of each day. Pay particular attention to warm, moist and “hard to reach” areas such as the groin, armpits and back of the knee. If you find a tick, remove it slowly using tweezers to pull the tick out straight, being careful to remove the whole tick. Wash the area with soap and water (you may also wish to apply antiseptic cream, etc).
The chances of contracting tick-related diseases as an occasional visitor are low, but if you do feel sick in the following few weeks or if the bite area shows unusual signs, visit your doctor.
For information before departure, we recommend the Tick Alert website, which gives a map of TBE distribution throughout Europe.
Guest post by Nature Travels, UK specialists for outdoor and ecotourism holidays in Sweden