TBE patients continue to be affected by long-term problems

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Impaired memory, reduced motivation, and declining motor skills. These are some of the problems that may persist several years after people contract tick-borne encephalitis, a University of Gothenburg thesis shows.

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is caused by a virus, found in parts of Europe and Asia, that is spread mainly by tick bites. Though rare, in recent years the disease has become successively more prevalent in Sweden, some 300 cases are reported annually.

The new thesis contains studies of TBE patients diagnosed with the disease in western Sweden between 1997 and 2017. The author, Malin Veje, gained her PhD at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and is an infectious disease specialist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

One purpose of her doctoral studies was, by following up TBE patients over a long period after discharge, to investigate the symptoms they continue to be affected by in the long term. The participants’ problems proved to be of widely differing kinds.

Broad spectrum of problems

Ninety-two former TBE patients were interviewed in median five and a half years after contracting the disease. It emerged that the interviewees had significantly more problems — in terms of memory, concentration, initiative, and motivation — than a control group…

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