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Pets, people at risk as fatal tick-borne disease spreads in Asia

Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome is spreading throughout Asia, killing dogs, cats and an estimated 30% of people who contract the tick-borne disease, and it "should be treated as a biosafety level three pathogen," says Masayuki Saijo, director of Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases. Deer, boars, hedgehogs, cattle, goats and sheep also carry the disease, and officials "have identified several cases in Japan in which pet owners have been infected by their pets and at least one case in which a vet died after being bitten by an infected cat," Saijo said.

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