SFTS virus re-emerges in China raises concern, 60 infected and 7 dead


A virus called SFTS Virus has started to claim lives in China since it was first identified earlier this year when several cases emerged. So far seven people have succumbed and 60 people have been reported infected, China’s state-owned media Global Times reports.

As per initial findings, the virus, most likely spreadable via infected ticks causes symptoms like fever, cough and a drop in blood platelet count.

Global Times cited local media reports that confirm, since the first half of 2020, more than 37 people in East China’s Jiangsu Province has contacted the disease. Twenty-three people were later found infected in East China’s Anhui Province. 

The virus also called Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Bunyavirus or SFTS Virus primarily spreads through infected ticks that bite humans and then from humans, it spread via infected blood and mucus to others.

However, the virus is not new, Global Times reports. China isolated the pathogen back in 2011. Since then the virus appeared and was isolated several times.

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The news comes amid growing concern over the spread of the novel coronavirus that shows no signs of slowing down. COVID-19 originated in Wuhan China last year from an animal vector.

Chinese virologists have warned the disease is communicable and can be transmitted between humans. However, “as long as people remain cautious, there’s no need to over panic over such virus contagion,” the Global Times report reads.

Animals like dogs, cats, cattle, sheep, and even some migratory birds have been found to be reservoirs of SFTS virus-carrying ticks, according to another report.

In 2015 the same virus was also found in Japan and South Korea where the mortality rate was reportedly more than 30% in both the countries, Firstpost reported.

There’s no vaccine of the virus as of yet, and it severely affects elderly and immunocompromised people.