11.7 C
Friday, April 19, 2024

Japan. Alarming rise of “flesh-eating disease” – STSS. The authorities are calling for precautions

Must read

- Advertisement -

The number of people suffering from a rare but highly fatal disease caused by group A streptococci is growing at an alarming rate in Japan, experts warn. Only in the first two months of this year, the number of infected people was almost 40 percent of the number recorded throughout 2023. The government appealed to citizens to take precautions.

The rare but dangerous streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) is spreading throughout Japan at an unprecedented pace. It was first detected in the country in 1992. Since then, approximately 100-200 cases have been reported per year. In 2023, this number was a record 941. According to experts, 2024 may be even worse in this respect. In January and February alone, 378 cases of the disease were confirmed.

STSS – symptoms and course of the disease

STSS is caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococci. The course is rapid. It usually begins with fever, muscle aches and swelling. However, patients very quickly develop multiple organ failure, which leads to a life-threatening condition. In some people, the disease leads to necrosis of the connective tissue covering the muscles, which is why it is sometimes called “carnivorous”. It ends fatally in about 30 percent of cases.

- Advertisement -

STSS cases are increasing in Japan

The bacteria responsible for the development of STSS are transmitted by droplets and touch. Due to this, the Minister of Health of Japan, Keizo Takemi, appealed to citizens at the beginning of the year to take precautions and follow hygiene rules. – We want people to take preventive steps, such as keeping their hands clean and following the etiquette when coughing – said the politician, quoted by The Japan Times.

Experts on possible causes

Authorities have not yet identified official reasons for the increase in STSS cases. According to Minister Keizo Takemi, however, it may be related to the country's entry into the post-pandemic stage. Its start date may be May 2023. It was then that the Japanese government decided to change the classification of COVID-19, equalizing its status with influenza, and not with tuberculosis or the SARS virus as before. This change was accompanied by the abolition of previously applied safety measures, such as the order for infected people to refrain from work.

SEE ALSO: He has received 217 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. “He reported no side effects”

STSS is caused by infection with group A beta-hemolytic streptococciKateryna Kon/Shutterstock

Ken Kikuchi, professor of infectious diseases at a private medical university in Tokyo, has a similar opinion. Speaking to the British “Guardian”, he stated that last year's decision of the authorities resulted in a reduction in the tendency of Japanese people to cover their mouths and noses in public places or to frequently disinfect and wash their hands, which favors the spread of bacteria causing STSS. Additionally, as the scientist argues, “the passage of COVID-19 may change susceptibility to certain microorganisms.” “We must explain the infection cycle of severe invasive streptococcal diseases and bring them under control immediately,” said Ken Kikuchi, emphasizing his “deep concern” over the rising number of STSS cases.

STSS in Poland – how many cases per year

An increase in STSS cases is also observed in Poland. Last year, 100 of them were recorded. A year earlier, this number was 19, two years ago nine, three years ago seven. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was around 20.

SEE ALSO: Four years of coronavirus in Poland. On March 4, “patient zero” was detected

The Japan Times, The Guardian, TVN24.pl

Main photo source: Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock

Source link

More articles

- Advertisement -

Latest article