Monkey Fever or Kyasanur Forest Disease, has taken two lives this year. This disease is caused by a member of the “Flaviviridae” virus family, called Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV). It was identified in 1957 in Karnataka and since then 400-500 cases have been seen every year in Karnataka and the region near Karnataka.
Monkey Fever Symptoms
Previously, monkeys were the prime victims but with time, it has spread to humans. The virus incubation period consists of 3-8 days and it accelerates in two or four stages which is very rare. Now, let’s see what are the symptoms of monkey fever:
- Severe Tiredness
- Muscle ache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach Pain
- Hemorrhagic signs such as gums bleeding and nose bleeding
After exposure to the virus or post-tick bite, in a week a person will have early symptoms such as fever, chills, severe exhaustion, headache, body ache, and conjunctiva inflammation ( redness in the eye).
One of the alarming symptoms is itchy and painful rashes on the body. Another one is swollen lymph nodes with fever and fatigue can be an indicator of monkey fever.
As the disease progresses the symptoms can increase to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and meningitis. Some hemorrhagic signs can be shown such as gums bleeding or nose bleeding.
The hemorrhage and organ failure can be fatal for the person, so early detection is needed. However, according to reports, the majority of patients get rid of the disease without any consequences but still few 20% can face severe consequences.
Transmission of the Monkey Fever
The disease can spread to humans after a tick bite or when the individual comes in contact with an infected or sick animal or a dead monkey.
According to reports, transmission from human to human is not detected. Animals like goats, sheep, cows, etc. also have a chance of getting infected though it is low, it is still possible. Because an animal’s blood is the meal for the ticks, possibly it can infect the animals.
The transmission to humans from these animals is rare, as tested in the reports.
Also, there is no report or finding that says that disease transmission can be possible from the unpasteurized milk of any of the above-mentioned domestic animals.
Diagnosis of Monkey fever
The diagnosis of Kyasanur Forest Disease or monkey fever, can be diagnosed in the early symptoms of the disease such as fever, chills, headache, etc. Its diagnosis is done by detecting the molecules through PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) or virus isolation from blood.
Later on, a serology test will be performed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to check the presence or levels of antibodies, and antigens in the blood.
Treatment of Monkey Fever
Till now, there is no specific treatment that has been used for treating monkey fever. Early detection and timely treatment or therapy seem to manage the disease.
The infected patients are kept hydrated to avoid dehydration, and necessary steps to control hemorrhagic signs.
Generally, the doctors or paramedical team advises the infected person who is having the early symptoms to take proper rest, stay hydrated, and have a protein-rich diet to boost his/her immunity system. It may help the body of the infected person to fight the virus.
Well, if you are thinking of visiting the disease-affected areas or living near the areas, then make sure you follow these preventive measures to protect yourself from getting infected:
- Get vaccinated. The KFD disease does have a vaccine that is available in endemic areas of India.
- Make sure you do not come in contact with any monkeys, especially dead monkeys.
- Make sure you wear full-length clothes.
- Avoid going to tick-infested locations.
- Use bug repellants when you are going outside.
- Make sure you visit the physician when you see the early symptoms of the disease.
Overall, monkey fever, which mainly affects monkeys, can infect humans when they come in contact with infected animals or a dead monkey, or via tick bites. The symptoms of the disease vary according to the stage, early detection and diagnosis are required.
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