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He gets all the Sweden marks: “I appreciate him very much”

He gets all the Sweden marks: “I appreciate him very much”

Hundreds of ticks are analysed annually at the Swedish Veterinary Institute to detect new species and diseases. Most of them are submitted to the authorities by ordinary citizens.

“We got a lot of ticks, which is very much appreciated,” says Anton de Jong.

The public can also send photos of unusual and common ticks to SVA, which is why an individual was found in Upplands Bro last year – the variegated sheep tick, or Dermacentor marginatus is the scientific name.

In the clip: What you need to know about various sheep ticks.

New signs on the way

New ticks usually come to Sweden with animals. For example, the variegated dog tick, a relative of the variegated sheep tick, could accompany you when you take your dog on holiday in southern Europe.

– So far, these new species are only visitors, but if the climate gets warmer and drier, they could eventually start to establish themselves here, says Anton de Jong.

Both species can carry serious diseases, such as various types of viruses. So far, none of the unusual ticks found in Sweden and analysed by SVA have carried any disease.

TBE and Lyme disease remain the biggest threats.

Although SVA researchers want to track new species and the diseases they carry, Anton de Jong believes the public shouldn't worry about exotic diseases.

– It is important for the healthcare system to know what tick-borne diseases can be found in Sweden, but the biggest problem in Sweden is still TBE and Lyme disease, he says.

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Anton de Jong urges the public to report unusual tick finds to SVA.