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What is the new tick-borne virus?

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is the new tick-borne virus?


This new virus is rapidly spreading in China.

It causes a disease called Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS).

What’s the concern now?

  • While the disease is transferred to humans through tick bites, Chinese virologists have warned that human-to-human transmission of the virus cannot be ruled out.
  • The current case fatality rate rests between approximately 16 and 30 per cent.
  • Due to the rate at which it spreads and its high fatality rate, SFTS has been listed among the top 10 priority diseases blue print by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • Unlike SARS-CoV-2 however, this is not the first time the SFTS virus has infected people. The recent spate of cases merely marks a re-emergence of the disease.

What is the SFTS virus?

Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) belongs to the Bunyavirus family and is transmitted to humans through tick bites.

The virus was first identified by a team of researchers in China over a decade ago.

How it spreads?

An Asian tick called Haemaphysalis longicornis is the primary vector, or carrier, of the virus.

Scientists have found that the virus is often transmitted to humans from animals like goats, cattle, deer and sheep.

What are the symptoms of the SFTFS virus?

According to a study conducted by a team of Chinese researchers in 2011, the incubation period is anywhere between seven and 13 days after the onset of the illness. Patients suffering from the disease usually experience a whole range of symptoms, including, fever, fatigue, chill, headache, lymphadenopathy, anorexia, nausea, myalgia, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, gingival hemorrhage, conjunctival congestion, and so on.

How is SFTS treated?

While a vaccine to treat the disease is yet to be successfully developed, the antiviral drug Ribavirin is known to be effective in treating the illness.


Prelims Link:

  1. About the Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS).
  2. How is it caused?
  3. Countries affected.
  4. What are the symptoms?
  5. Is there any vaccine for this?
  6. Top 10 priority diseases blue print by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Sources: Indian Express.