Tick-Borne Virus: All you need to know

A disease has been reported in China known as Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS) which is caused by the tick-borne virus. It has infected at least 60 people and killed 7. What is a tick-borne disease, its symptoms, precautions, how is it spread? Let us find out!
Created On: Aug 7, 2020 11:35 IST
Modified On: Aug 7, 2020 11:37 IST
Tick-Borne Virus
Tick-Borne Virus

A new virus has been reported in China known as a tick-borne virus. Already, the whole world is struggling with the new Coronavirus which reportedly emerged from Wuhan, China, and now the country has reported a new infectious disease caused by a tick-borne virus. The authorities have warned about the possibility of its human-to-human transmission. 

What is the tick-borne virus?

It is said that the virus can be transmitted through tick bites that have been identified as 'Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome' or SFTS virus. According to the leading Chinese daily Global Times, Jiangsu Province of East China had already reported more than 37 cases in the first half of the year. 23 people later were found to have been infected in East China's Anhui province.

Let us tell you that the disease is not new or SFTS Virus is not a new virus. Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is a tick-borne infection that is caused by the SFTS virus or SFTSV also known as the Huaiyangshan banyangvirus. In 2009, it was identified in China and afterward in South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. In 2011, China has isolated pathogens of the virus and it belongs to the Bunyavirus category.

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About tick bite
Ticks are basically insects that are commonly found outdoors. Usually, they live in grass, trees, shrubs, and leaf piles. Commonly they are also found in pets like dogs and cats. Ticks bites are caused when these insects bite the skin. Whereas tick bites are usually harmless and do not show symptoms but they may carry and transmit some diseases and infections that can be deadly. For example Lyme disease,  southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia.

What are the symptoms of Tick-borne illness?

Several tick-borne diseases can have similar signs and symptoms. The most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses are: 
- Fever or Chills
- Rashes
- Aches and Pains. Symptoms of tick-borne disease include headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Also, with Lyme disease, a person may experience joint pain. The severity and time of onset of these symptoms may depend on the disease and the tolerance level of the patient.

The tick-borne disease may result in mild symptoms that can be treatable at home to severe infections requiring hospitalisation. These diseases are easily treated with antibiotics and these diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose. Also, it is said that the early recognition and treatment of the infection will decrease the risk of serious complications. 

How the disease can be spread?

As per the Sheng Jifang who is a doctor from the first affiliated hospital under Zhejiang University said that the possibility of human-to-human transmission can not be excluded and also patients can pass the virus to others through blood or mucous.

About Bunyaviruses

According to CDC, Bunyaviridae is single-strand a very large family of enveloped RNA viruses i.e. more than 300 viruses. It consists of  5 genera of viruses namely Orthobunyavirus, Phlebovirus, Nairovirus, Hantavirus, and Tospovirus where Tospoviruses infect only plants.

They are transmitted and found in by arthropods (like mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies) and rodents and can occasionally infect humans. It is also seen that various viruses of the Bunyaviridae virus family can produce mild to severe disease in humans, in animals, and sometimes in both.

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