Background: Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging infectious disease in East Asia. SFTS is a tick borne hemorrhagic fever caused by SFTSV, a new bunyavirus named after the syndrome. We investigated the epidemiology of SFTS in Laizhou County, Shandong Province, China. Methods: We collected serum specimens of all patients who were clinically diagnosed as suspected SFTS cases in 2010 and 2011 in Laizhou County. The patients serum specimens were tested for SFTSV by real time fluorescence quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). We collected 1,060 serum specimens from healthy human volunteers by random sampling in Laizhou County in 2011. Healthy persons' serum specimens were tested for specific SFTSV IgG antibody by ELISA. Results: 71 SFTS cases were diagnosed in Laizhou County in 2010 and 2011, which resulted in the incidence rate of 4.1/ 100,000 annually. The patients ranged from 15 years old to 87 years old and the median age of the patients were 59 years old. The incidence rate of SFTS was significantly higher in patients over 40 years old and fatal cases only occurred in patients over 50 years old. 3.3% (35/1,060) of healthy people were positive to SFTSV IgG antibody. The SFTSV antibody positive rate was not significantly different among people at different age groups. Conclusion: Our results revealed that seroprevalence of SFTSV in healthy people in Laizhou County was not significantly different among age groups, but SFTS patients were mainly elderly people, suggesting that age is the critical risk factor or determinant for SFTS morbidity and mortality.
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