A woman in her 70s died in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, after contracting the Oz virus, making her case the world’s first death by the possibly tick-borne infection, Japanese authorities said.
The ministry said Friday that the woman died of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscles.
The woman went to a medical institution in the summer of 2022 after developing symptoms, including fever and fatigue, according to the prefectural government and the health ministry.
She was diagnosed with pneumonia, but after her condition worsened, she was hospitalized, and an engorged tick was found on her upper right thigh, they said.
She died of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, 26 days after she was hospitalized.
No vaccine exists against the Oz virus, which has not been found outside of Japan, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo.
Oz virus, a new member of the genus Thogotovirus, was first isolated from a pool of 3 Amblyomma testudinarium tick nymphs collected in Ehime prefecture, Japan in 2018.
Phylogenetic analyses revealed that Oz virus is more closely related to Dhori, Batken, and Bourbon viruses than to other thogotoviruses.
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