January 31, 2013

Yikes! New virus

With a 12% fatality rate. From The Japan Times:

New mite-linked viral infection claimed first fatality in Japan last fall
Japan recorded its first death from a new viral infection last autumn, the health ministry said Wednesday.

The adult victim, a resident of Yamaguchi Prefecture, had no recent record of overseas travel or any apparent trace of a mite bite, even though the new viral infection, called severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, is usually transmitted by such a bite.

The syndrome — characterized by symptoms such as nausea, depletion of blood platelets, a fall in appetite and headaches — can also be transmitted through contact with a victim’s blood and bodily fluids.

To date, there is no effective vaccine to prevent the infection, which was first reported in China around 2009. Its fatality rate is given at an estimated 12 percent in China, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.

Genetic studies show the virus that killed the Japanese occurred in Japan and did not come from China, the ministry said.

The next “big one” is out there and it is only a matter of time before it reaches a critical mass and becomes a pandemic. Viruses are especially nasty as once the infection takes hold, there is very little that can be done medically — just support the patient's needs. Antibiotics do not work.

Posted by DaveH at January 31, 2013 01:28 PM
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