Deadly Outbreak Spreading Across Japan

( – A deadly bacterial illness named streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) has been spreading in the Asian nation of Japan since January 24, with 1019 people infected and 77 deaths so far. In a statement, Japan’s Health Ministry explained that the illness is a rare bacterial infection that, while it can be treated with some medicines, lacks a vaccine.

The ministry noted that 50 of the 77 deaths reported so far were adults more than 50 years old. It added that the government has taken every measure to solve the situation and prevent it from becoming a more serious issue. The ministry explained that officials still don’t know what exactly has caused the rise of infections in the country and admitted they are “very concerned” with the spike.

The director of Murdoch Children’s Research’s immunity and infection department, Andrew Steer, is one of the scientists working to develop a vaccine to combat STSS. He claims many health experts around the world are worried about what the ministry said. He explained that the United States had the same illness and eventually became a “centuries-long epidemic.” When asked what Japanese officials should do, Steer explained that even when the sudden spike is rare, it must alert health experts in Japan to potential symptoms in patients.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Streptococcus bacteria of Group A, also known as GAS, is the leading cause of STSS. The CDC explained that the bacteria in question is usually found on the skin and the throat and can cause strep throat and other types of minor infections.

However, the agency has also said that the patient’s organs can start to fail in one day or two if the bacteria enter the bloodstream through an open wound. The CDC also detailed that STSS is an illness that should be taken seriously, as three out of 10 patients are expected to die.

Symptoms of STSS include muscle aches, chills, fever, nausea, and those associated with a standard flu. As the situation worsens, an infected individual will experience rapid heart rates and breathing, dizziness, headaches, and weakness.

The CDC recommends anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

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