To investigate nationwide severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) infection status, we isolated SFTSVs from patients with suspected severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in 207 hospitals throughout South Korea between 2013 and April 2017. A total of 116 SFTSVs were isolated from 3137 SFTS-suspected patients, with an overall 21.6% case fatality rate. Genetic characterization revealed that at least 6 genotypes of SFTSVs were co-circulating in South Korea, with multiple reassortments among them. Of these, the genotype B-2 strains were the most prevalent, followed by the A and F genotypes. Clinical and epidemiologic investigations revealed that genotype B strains were associated with the highest case fatality rate, while genotype A caused only one fatality among 10 patients. Further, ferret infection studies demonstrated varying clinical manifestations and case mortality rates with different strains of SFTSV, which suggests this virus could exhibit genotype-dependent pathogenicity.
Seok-Min Yun, Su-Jin Park, Young-Il Kim, Sun-Whan Park, Min-Ah Yu, Hyeok-Il Kwon, Eun-Ha Kim, Kwang-Min Yu, Hye Won Jeong, Jungsang Ryou, Won-Ja Lee, Youngmee Jee, Joo-Yeon Lee, Young Ki Choi