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‘Older people more at risk of tick viruses’

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Published : 2014-05-14 21:08
Updated : 2014-05-14 21:08

Tick viruses are more common in older people in Korea, a report showed Wednesday, following the recent death of a Korean man due to a tick bite.

Ticks transmit viruses, some potentially lethal, through bites. Patients commonly show fever, body aches, rashes, diarrhea and vomiting if infected by a virus-infected tick.

According to a report released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60 percent of officially confirmed tick virus infections in the country occurred among people over the age of 50. A total of 36 cases have been reported since last year, with 17 confirmed dead.

Six cases were reported among those in their 40s and four cases from children under the age of 10.

The most common body parts to be bitten by ticks were the head and stomach, with 8 cases each, followed by the chest and back, with 4 cases each, the report said.

Public concerns grew over the virus infection after a 66-year-old man in South Chungcheong Province died Saturday, about a week after he was infected by a tick virus. The man was diagnosed with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus, an infectious disease that causes severe fever and has a fatality rate of over 10 percent.

The warmer the weather is, the more active ticks become, increasing the probability of virus infection, health authorities said.

Staying away from grasses, and taking showers and washing clothes after outdoor activities helps prevent the tick virus infection, they added.

The 66-year-old’s wife was also infected with the SFTS last month, but recovered after treatment.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (rene@heraldcorp.com)

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