Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD)

Kyasanur forest disease or KFD is caused by a tick-borne virus coming from the family of flaviviradae viruses. Also referred to as ” monkey disease”, Kyasanur Forest Disease is transmitted by a infected tick. The monkeys get the disease through the bites of infected ticks. When a monkey is infected, it will cause death, after which the ticks from the dead body will drop off and will spread the disease. Ticks are external parasites that live by feeding blood of mammals, birds or reptiles. Ticks are known as obligated blood sucking parasites. Their bite is painless.

Humans will get the disease from infected tick bites or when he or she has contact with infected animals. Those who are risk are those who visit the forest to collect wood, grass and other forest products. The virus has been isolated from a variety of ticks that include H. turturis, haemaphysalis spinigera, and loxdes petauristae.

The disease in animals is characterized by multifocal hepatocellular necrosis that further progress to hemorrhages in the brain, kidney, adrenal gland and lungs. The disease in humans may be mild or may have no specific signs. It may also present as an unstable hemorrhagic disease with a high mortality rate.

Kyasanur forest disease or KFD can be present in monkeys, bats, and birds during its transmission cycle.


After an incubation period of 3 to 8 days, the symptoms will begin as:

  •  Chills
  • Fever
  • Headache

Other symptoms occur 3 to 4 days after the symptoms start:

  • Severe muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Bleeding problems
  •  Low blood pressure
  • Low platelet count ( white and red blood cells)

After 1 to 2 weeks, some patients will recover without any complications. Around 10 to 20% of the patients will experience second wave of symptoms at the start of the third week. These symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Severe headaches
  • Neurological problems
  • Mental and vision problems


In diagnosing kyasanur forest disease, laboratory tests may be performed, including hemagglutination inhibitions, neutralization tests and immunofluorescence. The most useful test is the neutralization test.

Other tests for Kyasanur Forest Disease may include molecular detection of the virus isolated from the blood. Serologic testing using enzyme link immunosorbent serologic assay may also be done.

Diagnosis is by clinical signs and travel history of a patient.


There is no specific treatment available; however supportive therapy may be given to help the body fight against the disease. These therapies may include:

  • Maintaining hydration
  • Supportive medications for bleeding disorders
  • Analgesics and antipyretics

There is an available vaccine for Kyasanur forest disease. It is an active chick embryo tissue culture vaccine. These vaccines respond in about 70% of vaccinated people.

Avoidance of aspirin and NSAIDs should be done because of their antiplatelet properties.

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