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The geographical risk areas for tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in Finland remained the same until the beginning of the 21st century, but a considerable geographical expansion has been observed in the past 10 years. In order to support public health measures, the present study describes the number of laboratory-confirmed TBE cases and laboratory tests conducted and the associated trends by hospital district, with a particular emphasis on the suspected geographical risk areas. An additional investigation was conducted on 1,957 clinical serum samples throughout the country taken from patients with neurological symptoms to screen for undiagnosed TBE cases. This study identified new TBE foci in Finland, reflecting the spread of the disease into new areas. Even in the most endemic municipalities, transmission of TBE to humans occurred in very specific and often small foci. The number of antibody tests for TBE virus more than doubled (an increase by 105%) between 2007 and 2013. Analysis of the number of tests also revealed areas in which the awareness of clinicians may be suboptimal at present. However, it appears that underdiagnosis of neuroinvasive TBE is not common.


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