▲ A farmer treating cattle in a precautionary measure. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging infectious disease recently discovered in northeast and central China. It is a tick-borne virus that is potentially lethal and can be trasmitted through a tick bite.
The Health Ministry and government disease center studied the case of a 73-year-old farmer in Jeju who died following symptoms of the virus. The transmission route of SFTSV is unknown, but person-to-person transmission either plays no role or at least is not an important routine of transmission. It is active between March and November, with most cases from April to July.
The virus has an incubation period of six to 14 days until symptoms are shown, including high fever, vomiting, diarrhea and multiple organ failure.The virus is also known to cause a decrease in the number of white blood cells and blood platelets.
The ministry advised the public to wear long-sleeved shirts and avoid wearing shorts to minimize exposure to tick bites. People are advised to use a repellent agent when going to forest or mountain areas and upon returning from such areas clothes should be washed and then dried them naturally by sunlight.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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