By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials in India are reporting the fourth death in 2020 from Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD), or monkey fever, in Shivamogga district in Karnataka state.


The individual, a 65-year-old farmer suffered from high fever, ache in joints, and bleeding in noses and gums. KFD was laboratory confirmed.

The victim contracted KFD though he was vaccinated. The vaccine for Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) has a 62% effectiveness rate for individuals who receive two doses.

As many as 124 positive cases of KFD have been reported in Shivamogga district since the beginning of the year, including 101 cases from Tirthahalli taluk and 23 cases from Sagar taluk.

KFD was first reported from the Kyasanur Forest in the eastern foothills of the Western Ghats in the then-named Mysore State in southern India.

The virus was first isolated from the blood of a monkey found dead in the forest and was later determined to be spread by the bite of a type of tick called Haemaphysalis spingera.  This tick is wildly disturbed in the tropical forests of peninsular India and neighboring Sri Lanka.

The disease is endemic in several of the southwestern states of India, including Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Goa, but since 2012, it has been reported in new areas beyond this core endemic region.  On average, there have been 400-500 cases of KFD in India every year since 1957.

Infected individuals experience high fever, chills, severe headache, sensitivity to light, and often diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding of the gums, nose, and gastrointestinal bleeding.  In this regard, KFD is considered a “hemorrhagic fever,” similar to its more famous relative, Ebola.  Because there is no specific treatment for KFD, the mortality rate has been reported to be 4-15%, greatly depending on the level of supportive care the patients receive.