Japan trippers warned of deadly bacteria
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Japan trippers warned of deadly bacteria

The yellow arrow shows the way for outbound travellers at Suvarnabhumi airport. (File photo: Somchai Poomlard)
The yellow arrow shows the way for outbound travellers at Suvarnabhumi airport. (File photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) is warning Japan-bound travellers to seriously protect themselves against infection by a rare and often fatal flesh-eating bacteria now spreading there.

Cases of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) have escalated in Japan since the country relaxed covid-era restrictions. It can kill an infected person within 48 hours.

"Those who plan to visit Japan should prioritise protection because the disease can be transmitted from human to human through droplets of body fluid and wounds. Vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children and pregnant women, those who have underlying illnesses and those with open wounds or surgical incisions should take special precautions," the department said.

Travellers to Japan should carry face masks, sanitizer, wound dressings and antibiotic cream, and buy health insurance, the department recommended.

According to the Japanese infectious diseases weekly report, the DDC said, from May 20-26, there were 30 STSS cases in Japan and six of them died, and from Jan 1-May 26 there were 690 STSS cases and 163 (or 23%) of them died.

STSS results from infection with invasive group A streptococcus, which can bypass antibodies, reach deep tissue and release a toxin which can cause shock and organ failure.

The invasive group A streptococcal disease initially causes high fever, shivering and body ache, with more severe symptoms in 24-48 hours.

There has not been a case of STSS in Thailand, the DDC said.

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