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Japan Battles Rise in Flesh-Eating Bacteria, Should Nepal Be Concerned?

June 19, 2024
Japan Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Japan is facing a surge in cases of Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS), a rare but potentially deadly disease caused by a flesh-damaging bacteria. As of June 2nd, the country has already surpassed its previous annual record with 977 cases, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

What is STSS?

STSS is a severe and rapid illness caused by Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria. While GAS typically causes mild infections like strep throat in children, some strains can turn aggressive, leading to symptoms like:

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  • Rapid limb swelling and pain
  • Fever
  • Low blood pressure
  • Tissue death (necrosis)
  • Breathing problems
  • Organ failure
  • Death

Cause for Concern for Nepal?

This outbreak raises particular concern for Nepal, given the large number of Nepali citizens living, working, and studying in Japan. Travelers returning home from Japan could potentially carry the bacteria, raising the possibility of an introduction into Nepal.

Similar outbreaks have been reported in other European countries following the easing of pandemic measures, suggesting a potential link between relaxed restrictions and the rise in STSS cases.

Should Nepal Take Action?

Nepalese health officials should closely monitor the situation in Japan and consider implementing preventative measures to avoid a similar outbreak. These measures could include:

  • Increased awareness campaigns: Educating the public about STSS, its symptoms, and the importance of hygiene practices like handwashing.
  • Screening at ports of entry: While not a foolproof method, screening travelers from Japan for potential STSS symptoms could help identify and isolate any infected individuals.
  • Collaboration with Japan: Nepalese health officials could collaborate with their Japanese counterparts to share information and best practices for managing the outbreak.

Protecting Yourself:

  • Maintain good hand hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after close contact with others.
  • Treat open wounds promptly and properly to prevent infection.
  • Be aware of symptoms: If you experience sudden limb swelling, fever, or other concerning symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

While the situation in Japan is concerning, it’s important to note that STSS remains a rare disease. Maintaining good hygiene and seeking medical attention promptly if symptoms arise are crucial steps in preventing serious complications. By taking proactive measures, Nepal can help mitigate the risk of a similar outbreak and protect its citizens.

The Ditible

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