Monkey Fever Claims Two Lives in India

Understanding the Spread of the Disease

Two individuals from Karnataka have died from Monkey fever this year. The initial fatality occurred on January 8 in Hosanagar taluk of Shivamogga district, where an 18-year-old girl fell victim to the virus. The second death was recorded in Manipal, Udupi district, involving a 79-year-old man from Sringeri taluk in Chikkamagaluru. According to news agency PTI, a total of 49 cases have been reported in the state, with the highest number in Uttara Kannada district, followed by Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru districts.


"A senior health official informed PTI that all precautionary measures have been implemented, with close coordination between officials in affected districts to contain the spread of KFD. With no available vaccination, heightened vigilance is essential. Efforts are underway to raise awareness about preventive measures. Previous vaccinations were deemed ineffective, prompting an approach to ICMR for a new vaccine."


Monkey fever, also referred to as Kyasanur Forest Disease or KFD, spreads through tick bites, primarily sustained by monkeys. The disease derives its name from the Kyasanur forest, where the virus responsible for the illness was initially discovered in 1957. Situated in Karnataka state, the Kyasanur forest lent its name to the virus, classified under the Flaviviridae virus family, known as Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV) upon its identification in an ailing monkey. According to the US CDC, an average of 400-500 human cases are reported annually since its discovery.


Humans can also contract the disease by coming into contact with cattle that have been bitten by ticks carrying the virus. This further underscores the importance of awareness and preventive measures to mitigate the spread of Monkey fever.


Monkey fever symptoms typically appear 3-8 days post-tick bite, including fever, chills, headaches, body pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Hemorrhagic symptoms may follow. Most recover within 1-2 weeks, but some may relapse with severe headaches, mental disturbance, tremors, and vision issues. Early medical attention is crucial.


To prevent tick bites, it's advisable to use insect repellents, especially when entering forests where monkey fever cases have been reported. Additionally, wearing long-sleeved shirts, trousers, and closed shoes can help minimize the risk of tick bites.


Edited By: Arusha Farooq

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