Outbreak of tick-borne virus SFTS in China

(ORDO NEWS) — Bandavirus Dhabi or SFTS virus is a tick-borne virus of the Bandavirus genus, Flaviviridae family, Bunyaviruses order. Infection leads to severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a condition characterized by a decrease in the number of platelets, which is accompanied by high bleeding and problems with stopping the bleeding.

SFTS is an emerging infectious disease that was first reported in Northeast China in 2009. In 2015, cases of SFTS infection were identified in Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan. Mortality SFTS averages 12%, and in some cases reaches 30%.

Another outbreak of SFTS occurred in early 2020 in Eastern China, when the world was covered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China.

The main clinical symptoms of SFTS:

  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Multiple organ failure – damage to an organ or organ system to such an extent that the life support of the whole organism is disrupted;
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Leukopenia – a decrease in the number of leukocytes;
  • Increased liver enzymes.

After about a week, most of the symptoms go away on their own, but about 30% of those infected have the second phase of the disease, which includes central nervous system paralysis, including meningitis and encephalitis.

It is not yet known whether the SFTS virus can be transmitted by other blood-sucking arthropods. However, it is known for sure that the owners of cats, dogs, hedgehogs, hamsters and other mammals are at risk. The SFTS virus is spread from person to person through contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person.

The main carriers of the infection are ixodid ticks Haemaphysalis longicornis, Ixodes nipponensis, Amblyomma testudinarium and Rhipicephalus microplus.

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