TOKUSHIMA – A man in his 40s in Tokushima Prefecture has acquired the tick-borne disease known as severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or SFTS, through contact with a dog, local government said Tuesday.
It is the first case of the infection transmitted through a dog, according to the health ministry. The man suffered from fever and vomiting but has already recovered.
In late June, the dog was diagnosed with the SFTS virus after the man took it to a veterinary hospital, the prefectural government said.
The pet owner first reported feeling ill in mid-June and took a blood test after the dog was found to be infected with the SFTS virus. The test result showed in late September that the man was also infected.
He did not have any apparent signs of mite bites. But SFTS virus antibodies detected in the blood test suggest that he had been infected within the previous few months.
The infection may have entered his body through his mouth or a break in the skin.
The dog is a house pet, which likely became infected while it was out for a walk.
Seventy cases of SFTS infections have been recorded this year, bringing the total to about 300 since the first confirmed case in Japan in 2013.
In July, the ministry said a woman in her 50s died of a tick-borne disease last year after being bitten by a stray cat when she was trying to carry it to a veterinary hospital. Tissue samples showed she was infected with the SFTS virus, the world’s first confirmed case of the illness being contracted from a mammal.