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Highly Virulent Strain Causing Surge in Flesh-Eating Disease Cases in Japan, Say Officials

Even though there has been a noticeable rise in the number of cases of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), a rare but possibly fatal "flesh-eating disease," health officials are still assuring tourists to go ahead with their plans to visit Japan, stressing that there's no reason to worry despite the rising case count.

According to the government, there has been a sharp rise in cases of flesh-eating disease in Japan. This is due to a highly contagious form of the disease.

Reports in the media say that simple steps like washing hands, putting on a face mask, and keeping cuts clean can stop infections. The March news stories in Europe about Japan's "unprecedented rate of transmission of a dangerous infectious disease" made it even harder to travel there. Incidentally, North Korea cancelled the Asian qualifying games for the 2026 World Cup. scheduled to take place in Pyongyang, citing "epidemic prevention for the contagious disease spreading in Japan." 

A health ministry official clarified that the World Health Organisation did not advise people not to travel to Europe during the STSS disease outbreak in 2022.

The bacteria streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus, typically causes STSS, a rare and dangerous illness that also causes strep throat in children. People 30 years of age and older are more likely to get this illness, which can affect multiple organs and cause muscle tissue to die. Experts believe that the rapid deterioration of symptoms leads to the death of 30% of individuals with STSS.

Japan set a new high for STSS cases in 2023 with 941, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID). The National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) confirmed 556 cases nationwide on March 24, 2019. It is believed that the spread of a highly contagious disease is to blame for the increase in cases. type of bacteria that is common in the Kanto area of the US and Europe right now. 

The health minister has asked local officials to look at samples from STSS patients to find out which strains they have. The illness can sometimes affect younger people, but most people who have STSS are older. A sore throat, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, and being worn out are some of the first signs. Still, the disease can get worse quickly, make it hard to breathe, or even kill several organs. 

The flesh-eating bacteria are so named because they kill the tissue around Muscles often get into the bloodstream and spinal fluid and make organs stop working all of a sudden. Two types of streptococcus can cause STSS. Available data show that those under 50 are more likely to die from the group A strain. 

Available data show that between July and December 2023, about one-third of 65 STSS-infected people under the age of 50 perished. Hand and foot cuts are often the first sign of an illness. 

Prof. Takashi Nakano of Kawasaki Medical School stressed the importance of simple safety measures like washing hands and keeping bandages clean. He told people to see a doctor right away if they had any strange symptoms, like pain or swelling in a wound, or if they had signs of an infection, like a fever. 

Japan says that the bacteria is of the UK type, which is very dangerous. easily spread and popular in the West. The same part of Japan has found this strain nine times since August. Health officials said that they are closely monitoring the situation and advised people to exercise caution when implementing measures to prevent STSS..

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