Authorities in Japan are warning people about deadly poisonous mites. The cause for concern is the SFTS virus.
SFTS is an abbreviation for severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, and it’s every bit as gruesome as its name implies. Aside from the obvious fever, symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, and in more advanced cases lowered white blood cell and platelet counts, organ failure, and even death.
The majority of SFTS cases so far have been in China, which is also where researchers first isolated the virus in 2009. A recent outbreak has occurred in west Japan, however, with 53 people reported as having been infected so far, with 21 losing their lives to the syndrome’s effects.
The vector through which the contamination is spreading has been reported to be tick bites. While all of the confirmed SFTS instances have been in west Japan, the Infectious Disease Surveillance Center says the type of mite acting as carrier can be found in 23 prefectures, from Hokkaido in the north to the island of Kyushu in the south.
Alarmingly, there is currently no effective vaccine for the SFTS virus, and the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare is encouraging that people take the precaution of not entering grassy or wooded areas with excessively exposed patches of skin.
The ministry stresses that caution is particularly necessary from now until spring, giving us yet one more reason to hate winter.
Sources: Yahoo! Japan, TV Asahi
Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japan’s Secret Weapon Against the Flu Deemed Ineffective by Ministry of Health -- 8 endangered foods you should probably appreciate a lot more -- 500 cats & dogs legally killed in Japan each day, but one organization says ‘no more’© RocketNews24