Monkey Fever Kills 2 In Karnataka; Know About The Disease & Its Symptoms

Bengaluru: The new year has brought a fresh outbreak of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), commonly known as monkey fever.

Since January 1, 2024, Karnataka has reported 49 positive cases of monkey fever, with this tick-borne viral haemorrhagic fever claiming two lives.

The most number of cases have been reported from three districts of Karnataka — Uttara Kannada, Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru.

The state’s Health department are keeping a close watch and taking steps to contain the spread of the infection.

What is Monkey Fever?

The Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV) got its name after being first identified in 1957 in Karnataka’s Kyasanur Forest.

A member of Flaviviridae virus family, the virus was isolated from a sick monkey in Kyasanur Forest.

KFDV is transmitted to human beings through the bite of infected hard ticks or contact with an infected animal, particularly a sick or recently deceased monkey.

There has been no evidence of person-to-person transmission of KFDV.

Symptoms of Monkey Fever

Early symptoms like chills, fever, headache, severe muscle pain, vomiting, gastrointestinal issues, and bleeding problems that may arise three to four days after initial onset of the disease.

Low blood pressure and reduced counts of platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells may be experienced by some infected persons.

In some cases, patients face a second wave characterised by fever and neurological manifestations like severe headache, mental disturbances, tremors and vision deficits after 1 to 2 weeks of initial symptoms.

The incubation period for KFD ranges from 3 to 8 days.

Preventive Measures for Monkey Fever

A vaccine is available which is used in endemic areas of India.

Among other preventive measures include using insect repellents, wearing protective clothing in tick-infested areas and avoiding contact with potentially infected animals.

Another crucial step in preventing the disease is controlling tick populations in wildlife and ensuring good hygiene.

How to Treat Monkey Fever

KFDV has to be managed by early hospitalisation and supportive therapy as there is no specific treatment.

The disease can be diagnosed in early stages through molecular detection by PCR or virus isolation from blood.

Serologic testing using enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay (ELISA) can also be used.

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