More than seven months into the pandemic, the novel coronavirus has already infected close to 19 million people across the world and resulted in 711,271 fatalities. Even with strict social distancing measures and lockdowns in place, the toll of the highly infectious continues to increase with every passing day. As we struggle to live with the new normal in the face of the pandemic– which reportedly emerged from Wuhan, China– the country has reported a new infectious disease caused by a tick-borne virus.
According to the Chinese media, the tick-borne virus has already infected close to 67 people and killed at least 7. The authorities have already warned people of possible human-to-human transmission of the disease as scientists and medical experts believe that the infection has been transmitted from ticks to humans.
The virus which can be transmitted through tick bites has been identified as ‘Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome’ or SFTS virus for short. As per the leading Chinese daily ‘Global Times,’ East China’s Jiangsu Province had already reported more than 37 cases in the first half of the year and 23 more people were found to have contracted the disease later in East China’s Anhui Province.
SFTS is not a new disease as it was first reported in 2009 in Centra China and since then the country has isolated the pathogen in the year 2011. The pathogen of the virus belongs to the Bunyavirus category, which is a family of arthopod-borne and rodent-borne viruses.
As per the reports of Chinese daily, a woman belonging to Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu reported symptoms such as fever and coughing. After her medical examination, doctors found that she had low platelet count and a decline of leukocyte in her blood as well. Wang was admitted to the hospital for a period of one month for the proper treatment of the viral contagian, after which she was discharged. Some of the other symptoms of tick-borne illness may include headache, fatigue and muscle ache.
Sheng Jifang, a doctor from the first affiliated hospital under Zhejiang University said that the possibility of human-to-human transmission could not be excluded; patients can pass the virus to others via blood or mucous. Doctors warned that tick bites is the major transmission route, as long as people remain cautious, there’s no need to over panic over such virus contagion, as per agency reports.