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Kyasanur Forest Disease in India

27 Apr 2016

The media has reported on Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) in India. An outbreak is ongoing in Sindhudurg district, Maharashtra state. Initially cases were confined to Ker village, however, the infection has now been identified in 18 villages of the district.

Cases of KFD were first reported during the last week of January 2016, and a total of 94 cases have since been laboratory-confirmed by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. The worst affected villages include: Asaniye (11 cases), Degave (10), Ker (26) and Zolambe (14 cases).

Surveillance around the villages has been heightened and local cashew nut farmers have been supplied with insect repellent as they are considered to be at highest risk from KFD.

Advice for Travellers

Monkeys, rodents, shrews and other animal can be hosts for KFD virus and the disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. Most cases are reported in rural, forested areas during the dry season; November-June. KFD is endemic in southern India in the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

In India a vaccine is available against KFD in the states where the infection is endemic. The mainstay of care is supportive as there is no specific treatment for KFD. Prevention of tick bites is the primary means of protection against KFD for travellers.