BackgroundSevere fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging infectious disease that was recently identified in China, South Korea and Japan. The objective of the study was to evaluate the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of SFTS in South Korea.
Methods/principal findingsSFTS is a reportable disease in South Korea. We included all SFTS cases reported to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) from January 2013 to December 2015. Clinical information was gathered by reviewing medical records, and epidemiologic characteristics were analyzed using both KCDC surveillance data and patient medical records. Risk factors for mortality in patients with SFTS were assessed. A total of 172 SFTS cases were reported during the study period. SFTS occurred throughout the country, except in urban areas. Hilly areas in the eastern and southeastern regions and Jeju island (incidence, 1.26 cases /105 person-years) were the main endemic areas. The yearly incidence increased from 36 cases in 2013 to 81 cases in 2015. Most cases occurred from May to October. The overall case fatality ratio was 32.6%. The clinical progression was similar to the 3 phases reported in China: fever, multi-organ dysfunction, and convalescence. Confusion, elevated C-reactive protein, and prolonged activated partial thromboplastin times were associated with mortality in patients with SFTS. Two outbreaks of nosocomial SFTS transmission were observed.
ConclusionsSFTS is an endemic disease in South Korea, with a nationwide distribution and a high case-fatality ratio. Confusion, elevated levels of C-reactive protein, and prolonged activated partial thromboplastin times were associated with mortality in patients with SFTS.
SUBMITTER: Choi SJ