Flu vaccine (Representative Image)
Amid the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, another contagion is spreading fast in China and this one is proliferating through a tick bite.
The virus has been identified as Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Bunyavirus (SFTSV) and has reportedly killed seven persons in China already. At least, 60 others have been infected.
The SFTS virus is not a new one like the novel coronavirus. The novel phlebovirus belongs to the Bunyavirus family and was first detected nearly 10 years ago.
Though it is a tick-borne virus, the SFTS virus also spreads from the mucous and blood of infected persons. Scientists have discovered four species of ticks -- H longicornis, H campanulate, R microplus, and D sinicus. The virus is said to be transmitted to humans by an Asian tick -- H longicornis.
The common clinical symptoms of SFTS are fever, low platelet and white blood cell count, gastrointestinal symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, and neurological abnormalities such as seizures.
The virus takes about 15 days to incubate, following which the symptoms start appearing. After the gestation period is over, basic symptoms such as chills, fever, muscle pain, etc start, which worsens after five to 10 days, leading to more severe symptoms such as multiple organ failure.
The mortality rate of the virus varies from six percent to 30 percent.
Intravenous delivery of antiviral drug Ribavirin has proved effective in treating SFTS virus to some extent, but no vaccine has been determined yet.
The SFTS disease is usually known to spread from March to November, with most cases being reported between April and July. The virus has so far been traced in Southeast Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan. It was first detected in China in 2009.