Deadly Tick Escapes During Conference On Deadly Tick-Borne Disease

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The press conference, aimed at educating public about the infection carried by the deadly tick, did not go according to plan.

In an embarrassing, and potentially dangerous, faux pas, a Japanese minister mistakenly let loose a deadly tick as he talked of the deadly disease caused by the tick carried during a press conference.

Miyazaki governor Shunji Kono called a press conference in the name of public safety to warn the public of thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS), a deadly disease that has gripped Miyazaki region and is carried by ticks. One live and one dead tick were brought to the press conference to exhibit their appearance to the public.

During the press conference, as someone brought in tweezers to pick up the live critter, it escaped. Journalists present in the conference were asked to help hunt down the tick.

The sly arachnid, however, escaped and has not been heard from since. It is not known whether the tick carried the virus or not.

The symptoms of SFTS include nausea; vomiting; fever; a low platelet level, cells that are essential to help blood clot and prevent excessive blood loss; and a decline in white blood cells that protect against infections. Symptoms begin to emerge two weeks after victims contract the disease.

The first case of SFTS was reported in 2009 in China but it was only in 2013 that the first tick-borne case of the disease was discovered. SFTS can be deadly and has killed 12% of people infected. The infection has been reported from China, Japan and Korea.

The governor issued an apology for the blunder at the press conference.

“We should have been more careful about safety management as the prefecture is in a position to alert its people,” Japan Times reported Kono saying.

“On the part of the prefectural government that was trying to raise awareness, there was a need for more thorough safety control, and I apologize for the inadequacy,” he added.

Banner/Thumbnail: Wikimedia Commons/John Tann

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