Japanese woman dies from tick disease after cat bite

Barsaba Taglieri
Luglio 25, 2017

A Japanese woman died past year of a tick-borne disease after being bitten by a stray cat, Japan's health ministry says, in what could be the first such mammal-to-human transmission.

The woman was reported to have been helping the cat and attempted to take it to a veterinarian.

SFTS, or severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, triggers symptoms including severe fever, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

Given that the woman showed no signs of being bitten by a tick, the ministry concluded that the cat was first infected by a tick bite.

"No reports on animal-to-human transmission cases have been made so far", a health ministry official told AFP on Tuesday.

"It's still not confirmed the virus came from the cat, but it's possible that it is the first case", the official added. It first emerged in China, but was since then found in Japan and South Korea.

The virus is said to have fatality rates of up to 30 per cent and is especially severe in people over 50.

Japan's health ministry said last year's death was still a rare case but warned people to be careful when in contact with animals in poor physical condition.

Authorities have since confirmed that she developed SFTS, a disease transmitted by bites from a certain group of virus- carrying ticks.

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