Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD)
Science & Technology
18th Mar, 2020
Recently, the Karnataka government has allocated Rs 15 crore for establishing research centre on Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) in Sagar, Karnataka.
- Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) is caused by Kyasanur Forest disease Virus (KFDV), a member of the virus family Flaviviridae.
- It was first identified in 1957 in a sick monkey from the Kyasanur Forest in Karnataka.
- Since then, about 400-500 human cases per year have been reported.
- It is also called monkey fever by locals as KFD is endemic to the Indian state of Karnataka.
- Rodents, shrews, and monkeys are common hosts for KFDV after being bitten by infected Hard ticks (Haemaphysalis Spinigera). KFDV can cause epizootics (outbreak of the disease in animals) with high fatality in primates.
- To humans, it may occur after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal (a sick or recently dead monkey).
- Signs and Symptoms:
- After an incubation period of 3-8 days, the symptoms like chills, fever, headache, severe muscle pain, vomiting, gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding may occur.
- Patients may experience abnormally low blood pressure, and low platelet, red blood cell, and white blood cell count.
- In most cases, patients can recover without complication after 1-2 weeks - but the convalescent period is typically long, lasting for several months.
- The estimated fatality rate is from 2% to 10% for KFD, as per the National Health Portal, India.
- It can be diagnosed in the early stage of illness by molecular detection by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or virus isolation from the blood.
- Later, serologic testing using enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay (ELISA) can be performed.
- Treatment and Prevention:
- There is no specific treatment for KFD although a vaccine is available.
- Initially, the KFD virus was suspected as a Russian spring-summer (RSS) complex of viruses. But as of now, this disease is only reported from India.
- The other viruses which are closely related to KFD are
- ‘Omsk hemorrhagic fever’ virus in Siberia
- ‘Alkhurma virus’ in Saudi Arabia
- ‘Nanjianyin virus’ in China
What’s worsening the situation?
- Deforestation: Deforestation for cultivation causes changes in tick fauna. It is considered as an important risk factor for outbreaks.
- Climate change: Increase in global warming and changes in normal climate have significantly contributed to the emergence of new types of diseases including KFD.
- Population growth: Moreover, population growth has also played a big role in disease transmission and the gradual expansion of the disease.