Korea reports this year’s third fatal case of tick-borne SFTS virus

Korea reports this year's third fatal case of tick-borne SFTS virus

A man died earlier this month after being infected with a tick-borne virus known as severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS), in Korea’s third fatal case of the disease this year.

According to authorities in North Gyeongsang Province, Thursday, the Pohang resident in his 50s started showing symptoms including fever, hand-wringing and speech impairment, May 16, after tending to weeds at a grave site in the neighboring South Gyeongsang Province.

The following day, he was confirmed to have been infected with SFTS. Despite being treated in intensive care, he showed no signs of recovery and died on May 28.

Over the past five months, 12 patients were confirmed to have contracted SFTS nationwide. The other two fatal cases occurred in Seoul and Gangwon Province.

SFTS is an emerging infectious disease that was first reported in China in 2009. Since then, cases have also been reported in 14 provinces of China, and in neighboring Japan and Korea.

The disease is transmitted primarily through bites from virus-carrying ticks.

After an incubation period of five days to two weeks, SFTS starts to cause symptoms such as fever, drowsiness, vomiting, diarrhea and multiple organ failure in some serious cases.

There is no specific antiviral treatment effective for this disease, which has a fatality rate as high as 30 percent. Experts say the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid tick-infested areas like brushy land with high grass and leaf litter.

SOURCE: https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2024/05/113_375643.html

Image credit: Jeju Provinical Government