Monkey Fever or Kyasanur Forest Disease – UPSC Prelims

  • Kyasanur forest disease or monkey fever is tick-borne viral diseases caused by Kyasanur forest disease virus (KFDV), a member of the virus family Flaviviridae, which also causes dengue and yellow fever.
  • It is endemic to South Asia and was first detected in 1957 in Kyasanur Forest of Karnataka.
  • Monkey fever is so named because it primarily affects black-faced langurs and red-faced bonnet monkeys and result in their death.
  • KFD causes seasonal outbreaks between December and May along Western Ghats mostly striking farmers in Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
  • Transmission:
    • Rodents, shrews, and monkeys are common hosts for KFDV after being bitten by an infected tick.
    • Transmission to humans may occur after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal, most importantly a sick or recently dead monkey.
  • Diagnosis: Diagnosis can be made in the early stage of illness by molecular detection by PCR or virus isolation from blood.
  • Prevention:¬†Its spread can be prevented through vaccination. Moreover, additional preventative measures include using insect repellents and wearing protective clothes in areas where ticks are endemic.
  • Treatment: There is no specific treatment for KFD. A vaccine (Formalin inactivated KFDV vaccine) does exist for KFD and is used in endemic areas of India.
  • Symptoms:¬†High fever with headache, followed by haemorrhagic symptoms such as bleeding from nose, throat and gums. It also causes gastrointestinal bleeding, muscle stiffness, tremors, absent reflexes and mental disturbances.

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