IS KYASANUR FOREST DISEASE THE NEXT H1N1?

Kyasanur forest disease or monkey fever is a zoonotic infection commonly seen along the western Ghat region of India , with mortality rate ranging from 4 to 15 % . Though the virus was isolated in 1957 , it was post the wayanad outbreak in 2013 that widespread human causalities were reported . As of April 2015 cases have been reported in Kerala , Karnataka and Goa with higher mortality rates than previously assumed . The rapid spread of the disease over the last two years must have raised alarm among the higher echelons of power , but sadly it is rarely given the due importance . If not addressed immediately it could be the Indian Ebola in the making , as the virus could mutate and start causing human to human transmission .

TRANSMISSION

– monkeys and small mammals like rodents are the main hosts of the disease , and the disease is transmitted through ticks(insect) or when humans come in contact with infected animals.

– infections commonly occur during the clearing of forests for cultivation , when the tick fauna changes dramatically and become infectious . hence it is the forest dwellers and farmers who are the first to get infected.

– Human to Human transmission is rare ( but chances of mutant strains could not be ruled out).

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

– fever, headache, severe muscle pain,cough, dehydration, gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding problems.

– The second wave of symptoms at the beginning of the third week include fever and signs of encephalitis.

TREATMENT

There are no specific treatment for the disease , the available treatment is supportive in nature.

PREVENTION

prevention methods include use of insect repellents and protective clothing . No specific vaccination is available.

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