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Tick avoidance measuresSevere Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS) is a tick-borne virus which infected 10 people on Jeju last year, resulting in four deaths
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승인 2014.07.17  17:37:21
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▲ The Haemaphysalis longicornis, or cattle tick, which carries SFTS. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province

Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS) is a tick-borne virus which infected 10 people on Jeju last year, resulting in four deaths. There were 35 cases nationwide leading to 16 deaths.

Jeju is more at risk than other areas due to the higher proportion of agricultural land. The higher death rate in the prov-ince has been attributed to the high number of elderly and frail farmworkers.

The virus is most active between March and November, with most cases from April to July. First identified in China in 2009 and also present in Japan, it has an incubation period of six to 14 days until symptoms including high fever, vomiting, diarrhea and multiple organ failure are shown.

The virus is also known to cause a decrease in the number of white blood cells and blood platelets and is carried by Haemaphysalis longicornis, or the cattle tick.

Precautions against tick bites

Residents should be aware of some key safety measures which if followed can minimize risk, the most important of which is to ensure no exposed skin comes into contact with grass and bushes.

You should also stick to well-trodden paths and avoid areas of thick under-growth. Try not to go exploring the woods and keep away from cattle and horses as such animals are the principal hosts for the ticks.

If you want to take your dog or any other pets into the woods, it is recom-mended you apply tick-repellent as there are some reports that they can also become tick hosts.

Tick-repellent aides

Tick repellents are available at your local pharmacy and the most effective contain the active ingredient DEET or permethrin. Although such products shouldn’t be used on infants below 2 months, humans and other larger mammals, such as dogs, are not as susceptible due to our different target channels, larger bodies and faster metabolism. The effects of permethrin can last for up to four weeks if sprayed on clothing.

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