Deadly 'Flesh-Eating Bacteria' Disease Surges in Japan, can kill in just 2 days
Deadly 'Flesh-Eating Bacteria' Disease Surges in Japan, can kill in just 2 days

Tokyo: Japan faces a concerning surge in cases of Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), a rare and aggressive illness caused by a "flesh-eating bacteria," following the relaxation of Covid-era restrictions. STSS, known for its swift fatality within 48 hours of infection, poses a significant health threat as it spreads rapidly throughout the country.

According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan has recorded a staggering 977 cases of STSS by June 2 this year, surpassing the previous record of 941 cases reported in 2023. This alarming trend has prompted heightened vigilance among health authorities who have been monitoring the disease since 1999.

STSS, caused by Group A Streptococcus (GAS), presents with symptoms such as limb pain and swelling, fever, low blood pressure, and necrosis, often culminating in organ failure and death. Professor Ken Kikuchi of Tokyo Women’s Medical University warns of the disease's rapid progression, emphasizing that deaths can occur within a mere 48 hours of symptom onset, particularly among individuals over 50 years old.

At the current infection rate, Kikuchi projects that Japan could see up to 2,500 cases of STSS this year, with a concerning mortality rate of 30%. He underscores the importance of hand hygiene and prompt treatment of open wounds, as well as the potential for GAS transmission through fecal contamination.

The resurgence of STSS in Japan mirrors similar outbreaks observed in other countries following the easing of Covid restrictions. In late 2022, several European nations reported a surge in cases of invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS) disease, including STSS, prompting concerns raised by the World Health Organization. This global trend underscores the urgency of continued vigilance and preventive measures to mitigate the spread of this deadly disease.

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