'Anus-eating' virus that kills 30% of people is spreading – 'something has happened'

ByHarry Thompson

Experts have admitted that they currently do not know why the number of cases has risen so much so far this year, which commentators note has "made people sit up and notice"


A mystery flesh-eating disease that kills around 30% of people who become infected is spreading rapidly around Japan.

In the first two months of 2024, some 378 cases of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) were detected in the country. Last year it is believed there were 941 cases, which has caused concern that this year is set to surpass that number by some distance.

STSS is caused by a more severe form of the bacteria that causes Streptococcal A, the strep A throat infection common in children.

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Infections this year have been detected in all but two in all but two of Japan’s 47 prefectures, raising eyebrows about how widespread the bacteria has become. The Japan Times reports that there are usually fewer than 200 cases per year of this most severe group A streptococcal disease.


What is so concerning about this particular spate, however, is that experts have admitted that they are currently none the wiser about what it is that’s causing it. A National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) spokesperson said: “There are still many unknown factors regarding forms of streptococcus with a severe and sudden onset. We are not at the stage where we can explain them”.

According to the UK Health Security Agency, Strep A is a bacteria that can grow in the throat, on the skin, and in the anus and genitals and can cause a number of conditions that affect the skin and soft tissue. Repeated conditions of Strep A, which affect around 50million people around the world, can lead to autoimmune issues regarding the heart. Per year, severe cases of Strep A claimed around half a million lives and the condition is caught through close contact with people with it.


While it's not clear why STSS numbers are soaring in Japan, Prof Sriskandan said, told the Metro, “There’s no doubt that something has happened in Japan. It’s made people sit up and notice.”

Originally Published: https://www.thebeautifulmachinemag.com/blog/post/anuseating-virus-that-kills-30-of-people-is-spreading--something-has-happened