From a deadly pandemic to massive explosions, we thought we’ve seen it all already, while the planet remains fighting with the COVID-19 pandemic that emerges out from Wuhan in China, another shocking discovery of a replacement virus is spreading alarm among the medical authorities.
Chinese officials have reported cases of another communicable disease caused by SFTS virus which has affected around 37 people in East China’s Jiangsu Province and 23 in East China’s Anhui province. The officials have reported that seven people have died thanks to this virus thus far. However, this virus isn’t new – it had been first detected within the year 2009.
SFTS virus stands for severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus which may be a phlebovirus that belongs to the Bunyaviridae family. it’s a tick-borne virus but it can spread among humans from the mucous and blood of the infected person. during a study conducted within the year 2015, scientists found four species of ticks, H longicornis, R microplus, H campanulate, and D sinicus in dogs, cats, sheep, and cattle which acted as a reservoir for SFTS virus.
The symptoms of the SFTS virus include sudden high fever, chills, loss of appetite, bleeding of gums, gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, muscular pain, neurological abnormalities like headache, confusion, and seizure, thrombocytopenia (extremely low levels of platelets), leukocytopenia (low levels of white blood cells), and coagulopathy (where the blood loses its ability to make a clot and stop bleeding).
Course of infection
Clinically, the SFTS virus presents itself in four stages:
- Stage one – Incubation: After a tick bite, the virus takes 5 to 14 days for incubation. The symptoms appear after the time period ends.
- Stage two – Fever: After incubation, the person presents with flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, muscular pain, and diarrhea which lasts for five to 11 days.
- Stage three – Multiple organ failure: thanks to severe leukocytopenia and thrombocytopenia, many of the patients suffer from multiple organ failure (MOF) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (excessive clotting of blood), ultimately resulting in death.
- Stage four – Convalescence: during which people that get past the MOF stage get healthy.
Various studies are done to work out the mode of infection and ways of transmission of the virus but no vaccine has been developed yet. The SFTS virus is understood to severely affect elderly people aged 50 years and above and also those with a weak system.