Visitors to Japan urged to take precaution against deadly ticks


BANGKOK, 28 February 2014  Citizens traveling to Japan have been warned of a tick-borne virus, which has killed 21 people in the country, and are encouraged to follow preventive measures against the insect. 

In the wake of reports that 21 people in Japan had died after being bitten by ticks, Director of the Bureau of Vector-Borne Diseases Dr Nipon Chinanonwait indicated that this type of ticks could be found in the forests of Japan and Korea. Based on the traveling records of the dead, most of them had visited forested areas before experiencing illnesses.

The director, therefore, encouraged Thai people who had plans to visit Japan to be wary of insect bites, especially while in natural settings. It is advised that they wear covering outfits and use insect repellents during their stay. If any visitor is bitten by an insect, he or she should try to identify the type of the insect. Medical attention must be sought immediately if fever develops afterwards.

Japan has issued warning of tick bites to residents in 23 prefectures, from north to south of the archipelago. The ticks responsible for the 21 deaths have been found to carry a newly-identified virus, for which no vaccines or drugs have been invented. Initial symptoms include fever, diarrhea and stomachache.