Death by killer bush ticks doubles in South Korea

PHOTO: The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

The deadly tick-borne disease Thrombocytopenia Syndrome is continuing to spread in South Korea, infecting 139 people as of October, according to the Korea's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among infected patients, 31 have lost their lives, a twofold increase from the corresponding period last year, the KCDC's data showed Thursday.

SFTS is an infectious disease transmitted by ticks with fatality rates ranging to as high as 30 per cent in some regions.

In 2014, the tick-borne disease infected 36 people, killing 17 of them. The infection tally has been increasing since then, marking 55 in 2014 and 79 in 2015, while 16 and 21 people died respectively.

Last year, 165 people were diagnosed with it among which 19 people died, according to data.

The major clinical symptoms of SFTS, which usually develop within two weeks of initial infection, include high fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and multiple organ failure.

Seniors over 65 and young children who engage in outside activities are most susceptible, the authority said.

A vaccine has yet to be developed. The infection mostly occurs from April to November.

Experts advise covering skin with clothing when outside during the period and to avoid lying on the grass.

More about