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Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome in Japan (Fukuoka)

03 Sep 2021

Media have reported a fatal case of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in Fukuoka, south west Japan.

According to local public health authorities, the case was admitted to hospital with fever and fatigue on 16 August and died on 21 August. It is reported that the case had been bitten recently by ticks.

SFTS is a newly recognised severe illness occurring in east Asia. It is caused by a virus, and is thought to mainly be caught from tick bites, and occasionally directly from people who are unwell with the infection.

Advice for Travellers

If you are travelling into the countryside, or will have contact with animals during travel in east Asia, you should make sure you know how to prevent tick bites. 

In addition, if you are going to travel and work in a medical setting you should: 

  • Wash hands regularly after caring for or visiting ill people, if necessary use gloves.
  •  Follow appropriate infection control procedures.

Tick bite prevention measures

  • Avoid unnecessary exposure in infested areas.
  • Wear lighter, longer clothing and tucking 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 can be found on the fitfortravel page: Insect Bite Avoidance.