The incidence of tick-borne disease has increased in Sweden and consequently the hospital costs. The calculated cost of TBE to society provides a baseline for decisions on immunization programs.
In recent decades, the incidence of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in Sweden has increased. To calculate the burden of disease over a 17-year period, we analyzed data from the Swedish National Health Data Register for TBE cases diagnosed during 1998–2014. We compared healthcare use and sick leave associated with 2,429 persons with TBE with a referent cohort of 7,287 persons without TBE. Patients with TBE were hospitalized for significantly more days during the first year after disease onset (11.5 vs. 1.1 days), logged more specialist outpatient visits (3.6 vs. 1.2 visits), and logged more sick leave days (66 vs. 10.7 days). These differences generally increased over time. The case-fatality rate for TBE was 1.1%. Our calculated cost of TBE to society provides a baseline for decisions on immunization programs. Analyzing register data, our study adds to clinical studies of smaller cohorts and model-based studies that calculate disease burden.