A series of curious tick-borne related cases and deaths were recently reported out of Shangcheng County in Henan Province. Patients all display symptoms indicative of HGA, an infectious disease known to be caused by a bacterium and transmitted via tick bites. However, what was isolated from these patients was not a bacterium, but a new type of virus currently dubbed as a “New Bunyavirus,” which scientists believe to be the cause of these suspect HGA cases and deaths. Scientists have also named this HGA-like disease “fever-associated thrombocytopenia syndrome.” Currently, over 120 suspect HGA cases have been reported for Henan in 2010, 87 suspect cases and 5 suspect deaths were reported for 2009 and as many as 557 cases and 18 deaths since 2007. Perhaps most worrisome has been the delay in communication of this situation to the public, as nearby provinces of Shandong, Hubei, Shanxi have all reported numerous cases and deaths since 2006. While health officials have deemed the disease “not very deadly” and have asked the public to therefore not worry, it still remains to be seen whether current control efforts against ticks will be effective in stopping the spread of this new virus and disease that currently has no effective treatment.

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