Korea reports first suspected death from tick-borne diseaseUpdated: 2013-05-17 AM 3:58:56 (KST)
The cause of death of a 73-year-old Korean patient has put the country's health authorities on alert.
The man, who has been identified only by his surname Kang, is suspected of having died from a tick-borne disease on Thursday morning at a hospital on Jeju Island.
Medical examiners said that Kang died from blood poisioning, a common disease, but also said Kang had traces of tick bites on his body.
They also said Kang had symptoms resembling SFTS, or severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a tick-borne virus, about a week before his death.
The disease is transmitted by a tick carrying the virus and patients suffer a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea and even death.
Ten days before his death, Kang suffered from a high fever that reached 39-degrees,.. coupled with diarrhea and vomiting.
Two days later, he was transferred to Jeju National University Hospital after his symptoms worsened.
Doctors at the hospital collected blood samples from Kang before his death and asked the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test for SFTS.
If the samples test positive for the disease, it would be the first reported death from the disease in Korea.
The virus has been found on a tick species in Korea called the haemaphysalis longicornis.
The Japanese media report that eight people have contracted SFTS this year, five of whom have died.
There is no known cure for the disease but there have been no confirmed cases of person-to-person transmission.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
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