Novel Tick-Borne Bunyavirus

Everything we know so far about the Novel Tick-Borne Bunyavirus: Global Times, reported that the new type of infection causing fever, cough and decline of leukocyte is spreading in China.

While the whole is still facing the difficulties caused by Coronavirus, another news is coming out from Chain that the country is facing another potentially contagious infection. This time virus is jumping from ticks to humans.

According to the Global Times reports the first case of the Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrom (SFTS) appeared in East China’s Jiangsu Province in April and since then around 60 people were found infected with the virus and as of 6 August around 7 people have died from the Bunya Virus.

In recent years, the various cases of SFTS virus have been reported from  China, Japan, and South Korea with the most recent bouts reported in 2009, 2013 and 2017. Some cases with milder but similar symptoms have also reported in the US. Some studies also show that the bunyavirus can easily be transmitted across continents by carriers.

Another study from 2018 looked into the transmission and fatality rates of the bunyavirus. In its reports, the fatality rate of SFTS is between 10 to 30%. As per the Indian Express report, the WHO has listed this virus in its blueprint of the top 10 priority diseases due to its high transmission rate and atality rate.

What is the SFTS virus?

As per the paper published by the  National Center for Biotechnology Informationthe Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrom (SFTS) is a viral haemorrhagic fever caused by a kind of “phlebovirus” – a species under the family of bunyaviruses. It is transmitted from Asian tick called Haemaphysalis longicorniswhich is commonly found in American, Asian, African, and the Mediterranean region.

The Bunya Virus is mainly carried by the tick. It can also spread from the bite of infected animals, coming in contact with infected blood and mucous or the wounds of someone with SFTS.

What are the symptoms of SFTS?

People who are suffering from the SFTS infection show signs like fever, gastrointestinal symptoms, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, and elevated serum hepatic enzymes. In some severe cases of SFTSV hemorrhagic fever patients usually die because of multiorgan failure.

According to the CDC, the infected person shows atypical signs and symptoms of the virus and in some cases, asymptomatic infections have also been identified.

An expert on the novel bunyavirus and director of the infectious disease department with the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, heng Jifang told Global Times ” that the early symptoms of bunyavirus are fatigue and fever; sometimes there will be a rash,” Jifang said. There is also a ‘possibility of human to human transmission’, he added.

A study which was conducted with a small sample size of 13 people also shows that the people got infected after coming in contact with sick patients.

How do you treat the virus?

According to a study published in The Lancet, currently, we don’t have any specific treatment or vaccine for SFTS. The only known prevention method avoid infection and transmission of SFTS is also known as the most recommended one – avoiding tick bites. People are advised not to go into jungles and bushes during an outbreak and summer season since ticks are most commonly found in wooded areas.

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