Tokyo, July 25 (IANS) A Japanese woman has died of a tick-borne disease caught from a cat, in what is thought to be the first such mammal to human transmission, the media reported on Tuesday.
Japan’s Health Ministry said the woman in her 50s had been helping a weakening stray cat when she was bitten, reports the BBC.
Ten days later, she died of Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS), which is carried by ticks.
With no tick bite detected, doctors assume the illness must have been contracted via the infected cat.
SFTS is a relatively new infectious disease emerging in China, Korea and Japan, the BBC reported.
The virus is said to have fatality rates of up to 30 per cent and is especially severe in people over 50.
According to local media reports, SFTS first occurred in the country in 2013.
The ministry said the latest death was still a rare case but warned people to be careful when in contact with animals in poor physical condition.
Globally, tick bites are widely associated with transmitting Lyme disease which can lead to severe illness and death if left untreated.