Woman Caring For Stray Cat Gets Bitten, Dies Later From Tick Disease

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Tick diseases are usually transmitted when a tick bites directly on to the host. But now, Japan health ministry said that a woman may have died from a tick-disease after getting bitten a stray cat bite.

According to Japan Times, the unidentified woman, who was on her 50s, was taking care of a sick stray cat. When she tried to take the feline to a vet, she got bitten. Ten days later, the woman died and it was found she suffered from severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS).

A woman, who got a cat bite, who then later died from a tick bite infection.

Woman dies from tick disease after getting a cat bite
Hannibal Poenaru/Flickr

This could be the first case of anĀ animal to human transmission of tick disease.

Since the woman had no tick bite marks and no signs that she was bitten by one, the health ministry assumed that the tick bite infection may have resulted after the woman was bitten by the stray cat.

SFTS is a clinical condition brought about by the tick-borne virus. SFTS has an incubation period of six days to two weeks. Patients will experience symptoms like nausea and drowsiness and fever.

The fatality rate of this condition is between six to 30 percent and there is no effective treatment available.

According to viral infections expert Masayuki Saijo, the case of a tick bite infection in humans coming from a cat bite is rare and the risk is low for humans. Saijo, who works at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said that indoor cats have lower risks of getting bitten by ticks and carrying the disease.

Still, the health ministry is urging everyone to be cautious. Veterinarians are reminded to wear protective gloves, especially when treating sick animals. Cat owners, on the other hand, should bring their cats to the clinic if they show signs of being ill.