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Chaos erupts as tick on display goes missing during press conference

The ixodid tick that went missing, right, and the ixodid tick that died after sucking some blood, left, are seen at the Miyazaki Prefectural Government office on Sept. 4, 2017. (Mainichi)

MIYAZAKI -- An ixodid tick that was on display here during a press conference at the Miyazaki Prefectural Government office on Sept. 4 has gone missing, causing chaos, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

The tick was presented to the media as part of the prefectural government's drive to warn people about "severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS)," which is transmitted by ixodid ticks.

It had been brought to the conference venue by a prefectural government employee, and placed on a sheet of white paper together with another ixodid tick that had died after sucking some blood. The live tick suddenly went missing following a photo session.

The tick's sudden disappearance caused commotion in the room, with journalists and prefectural employees frantically searching for it, but to no avail. As a countermeasure, the prefectural government released two types of insecticide across the press room.

The press conference was set up in response to a particularly high number of reported cases of SFTS in Miyazaki Prefecture -- the highest in Japan since 2013. During the conference, reporters were told about how to avoid being bitten by an ixodid tick, given that the autumn holiday season is approaching.

At a press conference the following day, Miyazaki Gov. Shuji Kono apologized, saying, "We should have taken better safety precautions."

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