Ticked Off: Japanese Officials Accidentally Release Lethal Tick At Press Conference

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 9.10.56 PMThe Miyazaki Prefectural Government was the scene of an accident that seems right out of a tort exam.  Government officials wanted to show a dead and live blood-sucking tick that is spreading a lethal disease in Japan.   The problem is that, after warning about the lethality of tick, the officials put the live tick on a table and it promptly escaped — sending panicked reporters and officials running for the doors.  The tick was never found.

Officials proceeded to inundate the room with insecticide and Miyazaki Governor Shunji Kono deeply apologetic. The incident however left many . . . well . . . ticked off.

Just last month, a farmer died after contracting spotted fever after being bitten by a tick. Others have come down with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or SFTS, which the tick carries.

Obviously, this could be an easy case of negligence to hold a press conference to show how lethal these ticks are . . . and then release one in the crowded room.  It could also be alleged to be an abnormally dangerous activity but this is something that can be done with due care (which seems clearly missing here).  Generally strict liability applies to those activities that remain highly dangerous even with the exercise of due care.  The Second Restatement describes the factors for ultrahazardous or abnormally dangerous activities:

the Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 520:

“In determining whether an activity is abnormally dangerous, the following factors are to be considered: (a) existence of a high degree of risk of some harm to the person, land, or chattels of others; (b) likelihood that the harm that results from it will be great; (c) inability to eliminate the risk by the exercise of reasonable care; (d) extent to which the activity is not a matter of common usage; (e) inappropriateness of the activity to the place where it is carried on; and (f) extent to which its value to the community is outweighed by its dangerous attributes.”

There is also negligent infliction of emotional distress which would seem compelling after warning the audience about the lethal bug that you then released into the closed room.

You be the judge:

26 thoughts on “Ticked Off: Japanese Officials Accidentally Release Lethal Tick At Press Conference”

  1. Thrombocytopenia is bad. That makes you unable to clot due to low platelets. If your blood can’t clot, then you can suffer massive blood loss, either internally or externally. Just existing, converting O2 to CO2, our bodies have little tiny bleeds that are normally repaired by platelets. Thrombocytopenia is like what happens when rats consume rat poison – they die from being unable to clot all those normal internal bleeds as they squeeze through tight spaces. Hemophilia is similar but it’s a genetic condition where the patient lacks a clotting factor protein.

    Are they talking about Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever, which can have a complication of thrombocytopenia? Or a newly identified tick born disease?

    Biting insects were discovered to be disease carriers in the time of dinosaurs. DNA analysis of insects in amber have found that dinos probably suffered a lot of maladies. It seems like the longer life evolves, the more closely diseases can evolve to plague them.

    One of the reasons why rats, and their fleas, exist across the globe is that they were carried on ships with travelers. Other biting insects like mosquitos and ticks are hitching rides, too, in our global economy. The eggs of the 3 top species of mosquitos infamous for carrying disease have been found in the Euro Tunnel, plane cargo holds, and trains. Mosquito and tick eggs can hibernate and survive freezing. Some species of mosquito can hibernate in the cold as adults.

    I predict we are going to have the same problems with the spread of disease carrying insects that we had with rats due to rapid, global travel. Which means we are gong to have to wrestle with the moral dilemma of CRISPR-cas9 as a means to purposely drive threatening insect species to extinction, the possible food web affect, and the scope for it to be weaponized against humanity. Could fish and birds that evolved to rely on mosquitos adapt to something else? Would the remaining non disease carrying mosquito species evolve to become disease vectors and would they fill the niche in the food web?

    1. Karen – I do know that some international carriers bug spray their planes before they crossed the ocean coming into the United States. I don’t know that makes you feel any better.

  2. Hard to fathom what they hoped to gain by displaying a live tick. Really. What could they have been thinking?

        1. The Mad Hungarian. Pitched for the Royals when we were regular attendees but he was past his brief prime then.

  3. Hey, wait a minute! This is Japan! We should all be doing Haiku! Here is one, with the fewest possible words, which Haikus are all about brevity. . .and just expressing enough of the essence to get the drift.

    A Ticky Situation???
    A Haiku by Squeeky Fromm


    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. OMG, I shouldn’t drink coffee this late at night! Sooo, what do you do if you were at the press conference, and you think you escaped, but all of a sudden, there you are, in a shopping mall, and you think you feel something crawling around, down there.

    Tick—It Where The Sun Don’t Shine???
    Another Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    Hiroki could swear that he felt,
    Something crawling down “below the belt” . . .
    Sooo, he poured Yukon Jack
    Down the front and the back,
    And it burned all the hair off his “pelt”. . .

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    (Hey, somebody has to think about scenarios like this. . .)

    1. Squeeky, unless you are a pre-teen, you shouldn’t use that non de plume. But you sound a lot older. So don’t be so cutesy. It’s tiresome.

      1. Oh, it was just straight coffee, and there was no non de plume in it. What it was, was two tbsps of Lavazza Santa Marta and two tbsps of Seattle’s Best Very Vanilla, made in a French Press. With 2 tbsps of Half and Half, two Sweet n’ Lows, and a pinch of Organic Cacao Nibs. I guess it is possible the Cacao Nibs fermented on me???

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

      2. Robert Kaplan – on here anyone can take the nom de plume they want. Squeeky has done well by hers, far better than the original. If it were up to me I would ban the nom de plume of anonymous, however it is not my sandbox. So, I don’t get a say. 🙂

        1. “…anyone can take the nom de plume they want”, but “ban the nom de plume of anonymous.”

          I’m not a bit surprised, Paul.


        2. Thank you, PaulCS!!! I am 33 now, and very vain, sooo yes I want to hang on to my jejunitiness. Or is it jejuniosity??? Jejunity? Oh, I hate getting off into the form of words, because then I start free associating, and my thoughts start to race, and I end up doing Irish Poems! Good thing I am sooo well read. . . 🙂

          Alliterate Girl???
          An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

          There once was a chick, sooo jejune. . .
          She often was called a leloon.
          But she only got bolder!
          “I’m not getting older!”
          “And I’m not gonna change my tetune!”

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

  5. Plus, I bet these guys had to have some comfort food afterwards! OMG, Spotted Ticks! Hmmm, I bet there is another Irish Poem lurking somewhere in there. . .

    Pudding It All Behind You???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    The day started off kind of rocky. . .
    For some people there in Miyazaki!
    Then, a restaurant chick
    Offered them Spotted Dick. . .
    They eschewed that in favor of Sake’.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  6. Spotted ticks! My goodness, but I bet the reporters were plum scared to death! I wonder if anybody had a stopwatch on them, because I bet some Olympic records were busted! Hmmm, you know that makes me think of an Irish Poem!

    Oh, Hie!
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    There once was a tick in Japan!
    Sooo lethal, it could kill a man!
    The tick, it got loosed!
    The reporters vamoosed!
    They were “spotted” just east of Bhutan!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    PS: I just loved the old “Oh Hai!” meme days!


  7. I grew up in tick country, where we got tick shots each year. Still, it is kinda funny.

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