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Updated February 7th, 2024 at 13:50 IST

Monkey Fever: Important Facts To Know About This Fatal Disease

As Monkey fever claims two lives in Karnataka, here are some important facts that you must know about this fatal condition.

Monkey Fever: Important Facts To Know About This Fatal Disease
Monkey Fever: Important Facts To Know About This Fatal Disease | Image:Unsplash
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Two people have lost their lives to Monkey fever, or Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) in India. The first death was reported in Hosanagar taluk of Shivamogga district and the second fatality was reported at Manipal in Udupi district. For the unversed, KFD is a tick-borne viral haemorrhagic disease, which can be fatal to humans and other primates. Here are some things you should know about this disease. 

Monkey fever is not a new disease 

KFD is not new. It first emerged in Kyasanur Forest in Karnataka in 1957. However, since 2012, the disease has spread to new districts and states within India, and human cases have increased significantly to around 500 each year. According to Monkeyfeverrisk, 5-10% of people who are affected by KFD develop haemorrhagic symptoms and die. 

How do humans catch this disease?

Transmission to humans is possible through a tick bite or contact with an infected animal. These ticks become carriers of the virus after feeding on the blood of infected animals. Monkeys serve as the primary reservoir hosts. Human infections are common during outdoor activities in forested areas where infected ticks are prevalent.

File photo of monkeys | Image: Unsplash 

Who is the most affected by this disease?

People most affected by Kyasanur Forest Disease live in low-income forest communities, reports Monkeyfeverrisk. These communities include: 

  • Resident and migratory farmers who graze animals in the forest
  • Tribal forest-dwellers who harvest fuel wood and non-timber forest products
  • Day labourers in plantations or for State Forest departments
File photo of Karnataka forst | Image: Unsplash 

What are the common symptoms?

The symptoms start to appear 3 to 8 days after the tick bit. People infected with the disease may experience a range of symptoms, including high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and occasionally hemorrhagic manifestations. In severe cases, KFD can progress to complications such as encephalitis, hepatitis, and multi-organ failure, posing significant health risks to affected individuals.

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Can the disease come back?

After 1-2 weeks of symptoms, some patients can recover without any complication. The illness, however, is biphasic for a subset of patients who experience a second wave of symptoms at the beginning of the third week. These include fever and signs of neurological manifestations, such as severe headache, mental disturbances, and tremors. 

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Published February 7th, 2024 at 13:50 IST

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