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Epidemiologic and Clinical Characteristics of Patients with Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome at Tertiary Hospital in Jeju for 10 years.

BACKGROUND: Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS), which was first discovered in China in 2009, is an infectious disease with a high mortality rate, particularly in East Asia. This study aimed to investigate the epidemiological and clinical characteristics and risk factors for mortality by analyzing SFTS cases accumulated for up to ten years in Jeju, Korea.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Medical records of patients diagnosed with SFTS between March 2013 and August 2022 at a tertiary hospital in Jeju were analyzed retrospectively. We investigated data of patients with SFTS on the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics, laboratory findings, and administered treatments and compared the differences between fatal and non-fatal groups.

RESULTS: We enrolled 91 SFTS-confirmed patients. The median age of patients was 62 years, and the fatality rate increased with age ( P = 0.004). Fever was the most common symptom (84.6%), and diarrhea (37.4%) was also present in some cases. The overall fatality rate was 10.9%. Dyspnea (20.0% vs. 0.0%, P = 0.009) and changes in mental status (70.0% vs. 11.0%, P <0.001) were more frequent in fatal cases. Risk factor assessment revealed that a high aspartate aminotransferase /alanine aminotransferase ratio (odds ratio [OR]: 39.568, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.479 - 1,058.639, P = 0.028) and elevated total bilirubin levels (OR: 53.037, 95% CI: 1.064 - 2,643.142, P = 0.046) were also significantly associated with fatal cases. Plasma exchange (40.7%) was the most commonly administered treatment.

CONCLUSION: SFTS has a high mortality rate; therefore, awareness of SFTS must be raised among physicians and citizens living in tick-inhabited areas, such as Jeju.

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