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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Ticks, oz virus. First fatal case of oz virus infection

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Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported the first death from the oz virus. The pathogen is transmitted by ticks and there is no vaccine for it yet. The country’s authorities reassured that not every infection has to be fatal, but it was recommended to wear covering clothing in places where these arachnids may be present just in case.

Japan’s health ministry said a 70-year-old woman who died last year in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, was diagnosed with an infection caused by the tick-borne oz virus, Kyodo news agency reported on Friday. This is the first such case in the morning.

The woman checked into a medical facility in the summer of 2022 with symptoms such as fever and fatigue. She was diagnosed with pneumonia, but her symptoms worsened and she was hospitalized. A tick was found at the base of her right thigh. The woman died of myocarditis 26 days after being admitted to the hospital.

Later medical tests confirmed the presence of the oz virus in the cells of the heart muscle, the Nippon portal specifies. This is the world’s first confirmed case of human infection resulting in symptoms or death.

Appeals for long sleeves and legs

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According to the health ministry there, so far there have been cases in Japan where infection with the virus was suspected, as indicated by antibody tests in the blood. Authorities reassure that “the infection is not necessarily fatal.”

The exact route of infection is unknown, but there is a possibility that infection may occur through the bite of a tick carrying the virus. That is why the Ministry of Health appealed to wear long sleeves and long pants in grassy areas and other areas where ticks are present.

According to Japanese media, the oz virus is a pathogen transmitted by ticks and was first discovered in the world in 2018 in Ehime Prefecture, in the northwestern part of Japan.

The Tokyo National Institute of Infectious Diseases has confirmed that there is no vaccine against oz virus, which has not yet been reported outside of Japan.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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