A record number of cases logged last year. A fatality rate of 30%. The detection of a new, potentially more virulent strain of bacteria responsible for the disease.

News of a rare but serious bacterial infection called Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS) in Japan is making the rounds, both at home and abroad, leaving some people with extreme concern. The health ministry has even received inquiries from travelers overseas asking whether they should avoid visiting the country now.

North Korea’s cancellation of a soccer match with Japan last month, citing the presence of a “malignant infectious disease,” seems to have drawn even more attention to — and fueled public concern — about the disease, caused most often by bacteria commonly known as strep A.