What is monkey fever virus, which has killed two people in Karnataka?


Image courtesy: thehealthsite

 Monkey fever, also known as Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), can spread from infected animals to humans through tick bites or contact, especially with sick or dead monkeys.

Two unfortunate KFD deaths in Karnataka this year have prompted state health officials to schedule meetings and reevaluate their preparedness to stop the virus's spread. The virus claimed the life of an 18-year-old girl in Hosanagar taluk, Shivamogga district, on January 8. This was the first recorded death. In Manipal, Udupi district, a 79-year-old man from Sringeri taluk in Chikkamagaluru fell away in a private hospital, marking the second fatality.

There have been 49 confirmed cases of monkey fever in Karnataka thus far. The most instances—34—have been reported in the Uttara Kannada district, followed by Shivamogga (12) and Chikkamagaluru district (three).

Understanding Monkey Fever or KFD

The virus that causes Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFDV), which belongs to the Flaviviridae virus family, is the source of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD). When a sick monkey from Karnataka's Kyasanur Forest was discovered to be harboring it in 1957, it was initially discovered to be the disease. Since then, reports of 400–500 human cases annually have been made, with an estimated 3%–5% case-fatality rate.

Transfer and Propagation

Human infection is mainly obtained through tick bites or contact with infected animals, especially dead or sick monkeys. Documented proof of person-to-person transmission does not exist. Even though big animals like sheep, goats, and cows can contract the disease, their significance in the spread of the illness is minimal. Furthermore, there is no evidence that unpasteurized milk from these animals can transmit the disease.

Symptoms and Signs

After 3–8 days of incubation, chills, fever, and headache are the usual symptoms of KFD. Three to four days after the first beginning of symptoms, severe muscle pain, vomiting, gastrointestinal complaints, and bleeding issues may appear. Anomaly low blood cell counts and blood pressure are additional possible side effects for certain patients. A second wave of symptoms, including fever and neurological signs such severe headache, tremors, mental difficulties, and vision abnormalities, may appear in the third week for a subgroup of patients.

Identification and Treatment

Viral isolation from blood or molecular detection by PCR can both lead to an early diagnosis. The diagnosis can also be aided by serologic testing with the enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay (ELISA). Although there isn't a specific treatment for KFD, supportive therapy and early hospitalization are essential. Suggestions for patients with bleeding issues include staying hydrated and taking extra care.


Vaccination is one method of KFD prevention, especially in endemic areas of India. Using insect repellents and donning protective gear in areas where ticks are common are further precautions to take. In order to lower the risk of infection and stop the spread of monkey fever, several steps are crucial.

Through knowledge of KFD's symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, people and communities can take preventative measures against this potentially fatal illness. To lessen the effects of monkey fever, prioritize health and safety precautions, remain alert, and keep educated.


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