378 CASES IN THE FIRST TWO MONTHS

An infection that scientists have yet to identify the cause of is spreading at record speed in Japan.

Experts expect the number of cases in 2024 to exceed last year's record numbers, with a total of 941 cases last year and 378 cases reported in just the first two months of this year.

"Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome", a severe and deadly form of streptococcal infection, is expected to continue to spread due to increasing cases in the country.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) said: "There are still many unknown factors behind the causes of severe forms of streptococcus, and we have yet to put them on a basis that can explain them."

DETECTED IN 45 OF 47 CITIES

According to figures released by the Institute, 941 cases were reported last year. In the first two months of 2024, 378 cases were recorded and infection was detected in 45 cities of Japan. There are only 2 cities in Japan where no infection has been detected.

According to Japanese media, one third of the 65 people under the age of 50 diagnosed in the last six months of 2023 died. This means that 21 people died due to the disease.

IT PASSES LIKE A COLD

Most cases are caused by a bacterium called "streptococcus pyogenes". More commonly known as "strep A", it causes sore throats, especially in children, and many people get sick without knowing its source.

But the highly contagious bacteria that cause the infection can cause serious illness, health problems and death, especially in adults over the age of 30. Thirty percent of cases result in death.

MAY CAUSE ORGAN FAILURE

When infected, the elderly may experience cold-like symptoms, but in rare cases, symptoms can worsen to include sore throat, tonsillitis, pneumonia and meningitis. In severe cases, the infection can lead to organ failure.

Experts warned, beware if you wake up sweating at night! Experts warned, beware if you wake up sweating at night!

Some experts believe the rapid increase in cases last year is linked to the lifting of restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.