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Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome in Japan (Fukuoka)

03 September 2021

Media have reported a fatal case of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in Fukuoka, south west Japan.

According to local public health authorities, the case was admitted to hospital with fever and fatigue on 16 August and died on 21 August. It is reported that the case had been bitten recently by ticks.

SFTS is an emerging viral haemorrhagic fever occurring in east Asia. It is caused by the zoonotic SFTS virus, transmitted primarily by ticks, although human to human transmission in medical settings has occurred. 

Advice for Travellers

Travellers who may be exposed to ticks during travel should be advised of the risk of infection and the measures needed to avoid tick bites. 

In addition, those travelling to work in medical settings should: 

  • Wash hands regularly after caring for or visiting ill people, if necessary use gloves.
  • If working in a health care setting follow appropriate infection control procedures.

Tick bite prevention measures

  • Avoid unnecessary exposure in infested areas.
  • Wear lighter, longer clothing and tucking trousers into socks.
  • Impregnate clothing and footwear with insecticide.
  • Use an approved repellent on the skin, for example DEET or Icaridin.
  • Regularly examine clothing and skin for ticks and remove as soon as possible.

Detailed guidance can be found on the TRAVAX page: Insect Bite Avoidance .