What is Kyasanur Forest Disease?

In recent headlines an outbreak of Kyasanur Forest Disease in the India state Karnataka has claimed the lives of two people and infected as many as 49 people since January 1, 2024.  Kyasanur Forest Disease also referred to as “monkey fever” is a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by Kyasanur Forest disease virus, a positive single-stranded, enveloped RNA viruses belonging to the family Flavivirdae. Kyasanur Forest disease virus mainly infects rodents, monkeys, and shrews but human infections can occur. Human transmission occurs when a tick that has bitten an infected host then bites a person. Hard ticks, specifically Hemaphysalis spinigera, are the reservoir for Kyasanur Forest disease virus. As we continue to discuss Kyasanur Forest disease we will discuss symptoms, treatments, risks, and diagnosis.


After an incubation period of 3-8 days, symptoms can appear such as:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Abnormally low blood pressure

10-20% of infected individuals will experience a second wave of symptoms in week 3 such as:

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Tremors
  • Vision loss
  • Mental disturbances


Kyasanur Forest disease can be diagnosed through molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, virus isolation from the blood, or serologic testing using enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay (ELISA).


  • Hospitalization
    • In severe cases
      • IV fluids prescribed
      • Blood transfusions
  • Supportive Therapy
    • Hydration
    • Prescription medicine to reduce fever and pain


  • Vaccination
  • Wearing protective clothing in tick ridden areas
  • Wearing insect repellants
  • Limit rodents/rodent infestations


Risks of getting Kyasanur Forest disease vary on:

  • Location
    • KFD is mainly prevalent historically in the western and central districts of Karnataka State, India but in recent years has spread to districts of Chikkamagalore, Uttara, Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, and Udupi
  • activities,
    • hiking, herding, working with livestock, farming, hunting
  •  season
    • November-June

Maegan Traveler is an Education Specialist for the SPECTRE Program.










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