Monkey Fever claims Human lives in Indian Southern State

Reepa Agrawal
Monkey Fever claims Human lives in Indian Southern State 04 Feb, 2019

Kyasanur forest disease (KFD) popularly known as monkey fever has recently been reported in Karnataka, southern state of India. About 50 cases have been reported from Shivamogga, Udupi, Chikmagalur and adjoining areas of Karnataka.

Monkey fever is a tick-borne infection caused by a virus known as Kyasanur Forest Disease virus belonging to flavivirus family. Man is not the primary host but incidental dead end host. Monkeys get this infection through tick bites. Monkeys can die due to this disease. When infected monkeys die, the ticks drop from the bodies of infected dead monkeys creating “hot spots” of further infectious ticks and thereby spreading infection. The modes of transmission to humans are tick bites, contact with dead or infected monkeys. The common clinical features of this disease are high fever, myalgia, frontal headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough. The alarming symptoms are neurological (giddiness, coarse tremors, convulsions, neck stiffness, coma) and hemorrhagic manifestations like bleeding through nose, hemoptysis or hematemesis leading to death. This disease can also have a biphasic course. Lab diagnosis is by RT-PCR and Elisa IgM. The designated labs checking human samples are National Institute of Virology, Pune (Maharashtra); Virus Diagnostic Laboratory, Shimoga (Karnataka) and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal (Karnataka). There is no specific treatment for this disease. It can be self limiting or lead to death with a case fatality rate of 2 to 10 percent.

This disease is till now only been reported from India and derives its name from Kyasanur Forest located in the Indian subcontinent. It is endemic in that part of country. The KFD vaccination is given within 5 km of the location of an infected monkey. Health department has advised farmers to not even collect twigs or any material within the said periphery. Tick repellents (DMP oil) is being used and it is advisable to not come in contact with infected monkeys as much as possible by avoiding forests.

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