Now a Tick-Borne Virus is Killing People in China. Is this What Hell on Earth Looks Like?


Now a Tick-Borne Virus is Killing People in China. Is this What Hell on Earth Looks Like?

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

As thousands of people continue to contract the coronavirus across the world every day, China may already have some more bad news. Another disease has been identified in the country — one that may be capable of human transmission, and has infected 60 people, and led to seven deaths already this year.

The “Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome”, or SFTS, doctor’s say is caused by the bunya virus, which comes from ticks. It can, as the name suggests, lead to severe fever in patients, and can be transmitted through animals, blood and mucous, or through our respiratory tracts, an expert said in China’s state-run Global Times.

In some cases, the SFTS can also be accompanied by more severe symptoms, such as muscular symptoms and neurological abnormalities.

More than 30 people in East China’s Jiangsu Province were found to be infected with SFTS earlier this year. Soon after, over 20 others were found to have been infected in East China’s Anhui province.

One woman, who was diagnosed with the SFTS in Nanjing city, complained of a high fever and a cough before doctors found that her blood platelet numbers had also declined. She was discharged after a month in hospital, but seven other patients in parts of eastern China weren’t as fortunate, a report said.

Unlike Covid-19, however, this is not the first time experts have heard of the SFTS. It was identified in China as far back as 2010, with a few cases reported in Japan and South Korea as well. The following year, China isolated a pathogen of the SFTS.

Doctors are saying that, for now, tick bites are the major transmission route of this virus, and that so long as people are cautious, there’s nothing to worry about.

With reports of the coronavirus cases spiking in many parts of the world, we can all agree that the last thing the world needs is another viral disease.