Date: Mon 4 Feb 2019 14:34 CET
Source: Swissinfo [edited]
Only 2 Swiss cantons are not considered "at-risk" zones for tick-borne diseases, the Federal Office of Public Health has announced. Vaccination is recommended. Following a recent government call for mass vaccinations against the debilitating tick-borne encephalitis [TBE] disease, the health office said on [Mon 4 Feb 2019] it considered the entire country -- except cantons Geneva and Ticino -- to be at risk.
In a press release (French [also available in German and Italian]) [<https://www.admin.ch/gov/fr/accueil/documentation/communiques.msg-id-73873.html
>], the office repeated the call for anybody who may be exposed to ticks -- for example walkers, especially in forests -- to be vaccinated. Residents of Geneva or Ticino travelling outside their canton for such activities should also get the jab, it said.
The optimum time for vaccination is in winter, the office wrote, so that walkers and hikers are protected once the good weather and riskiest period (from April to October) rolls around.
Last year  380 cases of tick-borne encephalitis, a debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system and can be fatal, were reported in Switzerland, compared with 100 per year in previous years.
The other major disease transmitted by tick bites, Lyme disease, which is treatable in early stages with antibiotics but which sometimes brings lasting complications, is not preventable through vaccination.
To reduce the risk of picking up Lyme disease, or indeed the encephalitis [virus] strain, authorities recommend avoiding particularly at-risk areas, for example bushes and tall grass, as well as using an insect repellent and wearing clothing that covers the arms, legs, and feet.
[With the steady increase in TBE cases over recent years, advice for those individuals who frequent wooded areas in Switzerland to be vaccinated is prudent as the report above indicates. According to government information, the most widespread tick species in Switzerland is the wood tick (_Ixodes ricinus_ commonly known as the castor bean tick, sheep tick, or deer tick). It prefers deciduous woods with abundant undergrowth, the edge of the forest and forest paths, and waits on low growing plants until a warm-blooded host (a person or animal) brushes against the plant.
In a previous comment in 2017 concerning TBE in Switzerland, Dr Ivo M Foppa indicated that the incidence of TBE in Switzerland has increased markedly since 2000, roughly about 50 percent. The reason for the increase of TBE incidence in Central/Western/Northern Europe is unknown.
TBE is a virus infection caused by one of 3 TBE virus subtypes belonging to the _Flaviviridae_ family: Central European, Siberian, and Far Eastern (formerly known as Russian spring-summer encephalitis). It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected _Ixodes_ ticks. - PrMed Mod.TY]
[Maps of Switzerland: