In general, Japan has very few animals that’ll kill you, as most local wildlife falls outside the three danger areas that trained zoologists refer to technically as poisonous, gigantic, and fangy.

However, you only need to kill a man once to show him you mean business. A check mark in any one of those boxes is cause for concern, which is why authorities in Japan are warning people about deadly poisonous mites that’ve been found in the country.

The cause for concern is the SFTS virus. Generally speaking, medical professionals usually don’t have to come up with acronyms to cram in the all the enjoyable aspects of a virus, so you’d be correct in assuming its full name isn’t “Super Fun Time (with Sprinkles) Virus.”

“Seriously, no sprinkles? God, what’s the point in even eating these infectious disease cultures?”

SFTS is an abbreviation for severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, and it’s every bit as gruesome as its name implies. Aside from the obvious fever, symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, and in more advanced cases lowered white blood cell and platelet counts, organ failure, and even death.

The majority of SFTS cases so far have been in China, which is also where researchers first isolated the virus in 2009. A recent outbreak has occurred in west Japan, however, with 53 people reported as having been infected so far, with 21 losing their lives to the syndrome’s effects.

The vector through which the contamination is spreading has been reported to be tick bites. While all of the confirmed SFTS instances have been in west Japan, the Infectious Disease Surveillance Center says the type of mite acting as carrier can be found in 23 prefectures, from Hokkaido in the north to the island of Kyushu in the south.

Alarmingly, there is currently no effective vaccine for the SFTS virus, and the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare is encouraging that people take the precaution of not entering grassy or wooded areas with excessively exposed patches of skin.

▼ Take Health, Labor, and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura’s advice, and save the miniskirt for urban outings.

The Ministry stresses that caution is particularly necessary from now until spring, giving us yet one more reason to hate winter.

Sources: Yahoo! Japan, TV Asahi