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Monkey Fever

Author: Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar - Infectious Diseases  

Contents


Recently, the news is being hit by a new term Monkey fever and it is essential to be aware of this disease so as to protect yourself from it.

Overview:

Monkey fever, scientifically known as Kyasanur forest disease is a viral fever which is caused by a virus belonging to family Flaviviridae and is carried by ticks, birds, etc., hence categorized as a vector-borne disease. It mainly affects monkeys and human beings.

It was first noted in Kyasanur forest in Karnataka, India in March 1957 where lots of monkeys died because of this hence, commonly known as Monkey fever or disease. Infection to the human was later reported in Bandipur while handling infected dead monkeys.

Symptoms:

Initially it represents as chills, fever with headaches in the frontal region after incubation period of 3 to 8 days, followed by bleeding like from nose, throat, gingiva (gums), even stomach (gastrointestinal bleeding) after 3 to 4 days of onset of initial symptoms, along with abnormally low blood pressure, decreased platelets, RBC, WBC.

It can be associated with the following other symptoms, especially neurological symptoms at the beginning of the third week in some patients with fever, like:

  • Nausea, vomiting.

  • The stiffness of the muscles.

  • Mental disturbances.

  • Tremors.

  • Absence of reflexes.

  • A severe headache.

  • Vision problems.

Being a viral fever, it gets cured on its own within 1 to 2 weeks without any complication in some patients, but the recovery period is prolonged and can extend to several months. The affected person may feel weak accompanied by muscle pain that might hinder day-to-day activities.

Transmission:

It is transmitted through the vector Haemaphysalis spinigera which is a forest tick and variety of animals play the role as reservoir like rats, squirrels, etc. Humans get the infection from the bite of nymphs (immature form) of the ticks.

Diagnosis:

Earlier, the methods used included hemagglutination inhibition assays (HI), complement fixation tests, neutralization tests and injecting mice with serum of infected individual.

The recent more efficient methods include:

  • Nested RT-PCR

  • TaqMan-based real-time RT-PCR

  • ELISA test to detect immunoglobulin M antibodies

The early stage assessment can be done using PCR (molecular detection) or isolation of virus from the blood. Later ELISA (serologic testing) can be performed.

Treatment:

There is no specific treatment for this but early hospitalization along with fluid level management, management or precautions for bleeding disorders, complete rest and diet rich in protein may help. Some home remedies believed to be beneficial include garlic, ginger, turmeric, green tea, and mushrooms by boosting the immunity.

Prevention:

The prevention includes vaccination, along with wearing protective clothing, ticks control, and the use of insect repellants.

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned or are in doubt, consult your doctor as soon as possible as if not managed soon, this can be fatal too. Online medical platforms make it more easy for you to contact a doctor online and get guided regarding the condition.

Image: Monkey Fever Last reviewed at: 11.Jan.2019

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