Kyasanur Forest Disease

A 48 year old woman in Wayanad, Kerala, recently died from Kyasanur Forest Disease. Several other are being treated for the disease.

About the Disease

The Kyasanur Forest Disease, also called as the Monkey Fever, was first reported in 1957 from the Kyasanur Forest region of Karnataka. It is was initially an epizootic disease and affected the monkeys in the region. Over time it has started affecting humans as well- with 400 to 500 cases being reported annually.

Causatives

The disease is caused by a virus: Kyasanur Forest Disease Virus which belongs to the Flaviviridae family. Flaviviridae viruses are noted for causing disease like the yellow fever and dengue. The KFD is transmitted either by tick bite (tick borne disease) or by contact with an infected monkey. Other hosts include rodents, shrews and porcupines.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of the KFD includes headaches, fever, gastrointestinal bleeding, bleeding from throat, gums and nasal cavity (haemorrhagic symptoms), mental disturbances, vomiting, tremors, loss of reflexes, muscle stiffness, etc. The infection has an incubation period of about 3 to 8 days after which the symptoms manifest.

Targets

The disease is endemic to the southern states of India. People who are exposed to the rural or outdoor settings- either as a part of occupation or recreation are most at risk from the disease. Occupations like farmers, hunters, gatherers, herders, forest workers, etc. are at risk of contracting the disease from ticks. Health authorities vaccinate such vulnerable groups against the KFD.

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