Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD): The Monkey Fever


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) and Other Zoonotic Diseases

Mains level : NA

Kyasanur Forest Disease


  • Recent fatalities due to Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), known as monkey fever, in Karnataka have sparked concerns about the spread of this viral infection.

What is Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD)?

  • Origins and Identification: KFD is caused by the Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV), a member of the Flaviviridae virus family. It was first identified in 1957 in Karnataka’s Kyasanur Forest.
  • Incidence and Mortality: Between 400-500 human cases are reported annually, with an estimated case-fatality rate ranging from 3% to 5%.

Transmission and Spread

  • Tick-Borne Transmission: Humans can contract KFD through tick bites or contact with infected animals, particularly sick or deceased monkeys.
  • Limited Animal Role: While large animals like goats, cows, and sheep can become infected, they play a minor role in disease transmission. There’s no evidence of transmission through unpasteurized milk.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Early Symptoms: The disease typically manifests with chills, fever, and headache after an incubation period of 3-8 days.
  • Progression: Severe muscle pain, vomiting, gastrointestinal issues, and bleeding tendencies may develop within 3-4 days. Some patients experience neurological symptoms in the third week, including severe headaches and vision problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Diagnostic Methods: Early diagnosis involves molecular detection through PCR or virus isolation from blood. Serologic testing using ELISA is conducted later.
  • Treatment Approach: While no specific treatment exists, early hospitalization and supportive therapy, such as hydration maintenance, are crucial.

Prevention Strategies

  • Vaccination: A vaccine for KFD is available and administered in endemic regions of India to prevent the disease.
  • Preventive Measures: Insect repellents and protective clothing are recommended in tick-infested areas to minimize the risk of infection.

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