Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome in Japan

14 September 2021

Article: 55/3702

Japanese media have reported a fatal case of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in Fukuoka, south west Japan. Local public health authorities have stated that the person was admitted to hospital with fever and fatigue on 16 August 2021 and died five days later. It is reported that the person had been bitten recently by ticks.

SFTS is an emerging viral haemorrhagic fever occurring in eastern Asia, and 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, and use gloves if necessary
  • follow appropriate infection control procedures, If working in a healthcare settings

Tick bite prevention measures

Travellers who may be exposed to ticks during travel should:

  • avoid unnecessary exposure in infested areasĀ 
  • wear lighter, longer clothing and tuck 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 about insect bite avoidance can be found on TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.

Source: TRAVAX, 3 September 2021