Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD)


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    A new point-of-care test has been found to be highly sensitive in the rapid diagnosis of Kyasanur forest disease (KFD).

    • It is also known as monkey fever, which is an emerging public health problem in the country.

    Point-of-Care Test 

    • Developed by: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Virology.
    • It includes a battery-operated Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analyser, which is a portable, lightweight and universal cartridge-based sample pre-treatment kit and nucleic acid extraction device that aid in sample processing at the point of care.
    • Significance: It would be beneficial for the diagnosis of KFD as the outbreaks mainly happen in remote areas, where there is lack of well-equipped sample handling and laboratory testing facilities.
      • Also, this would be useful in quick patient management and controlling further spread of the virus.

    Kyasanur Forest Disease


    • It is caused by the Kyasanur Forest Disease Virus (KFDV) which was identified in 1957 when it was isolated from a sick monkey from the Kyasanur Forest  in Karnataka. Since then, between 400-500 human cases per year have been reported.


    • Hard ticks (Hemaphysalis spinigera) are the reservoir of the KFD virus.
    • Transmission to humans may occur after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal, most importantly a sick or recently dead monkey. No person-to-person transmission has been described.


    • After an incubation period of 3-8 days, the symptoms of KFD begin suddenly with chills, fever, and headache. Severe muscle pain with vomiting, gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding problems may occur 3-4 days after initial symptom onset. 
    • Patients may experience abnormally low blood pressure, and low platelet, red blood cell, and white blood cell counts.
    • People with recreational or occupational exposure to rural or outdoor settings (e.ghunters, herders, forest workers, farmers) are potentially at risk for infection by contact with infected ticks.


    • Diagnosis can be made in the early stage of illness by molecular detection by PCR or virus isolation from blood.
    • Later, serologic testing using Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Serologic Assay (ELISA) can be performed.

    Prevention and Treatment

    • No specific treatment for KFD, but early hospitalisation and supportive therapy is important. Supportive therapy includes the maintenance of hydration and the usual precautions for patients with bleeding disorders.
    • A vaccine does exist for KFD and is used in endemic areas of India. Additional preventative measures include insect repellents and wearing protective clothing in areas where ticks are endemic.

    Image Courtesy: CDC

    Source: IE