Alert for Kyasanur Forest disease issued by Council for Medical Research (India)

The Indian Council for Medical Research has published a “high alert” for preventing any outbreak of monkey fever (Kyasanur Forest disease) in parts of Karnataka, several parts of the Western Ghats and districts in other Indian states, including Maharashtra, Kerala and Goa. During the first half of this year, in Maharashtra's Sindhudurga region bordering Karnataka, at least 125 people have tested positive for monkey fever and 7 have died.

Advice For Travellers

There has been an increasing trend of this disease in the last few years with peak transmission between March and May.

Kyasanur forest disease is a tick-borne viral hemorrhagic fever. The mortality rate can be as high as 10 percent. An infected person may recover in two weeks time, but the convalescent period is typically very long, lasting for several months during which the patient is unable to engage in physical activities. The risk of exposure can be reduced by avoiding tick bites, whenever possible, especially when hiking or camping in fields and forests. Checking the skin daily for ticks and prompt removal of an attached tick will help to reduce the risk of infection.

While the risk for the general traveller is low, the risk may be higher for people whose activities bring them into contact with the forest. Travellers should wear protective clothing to avoid tick bites. An effective vaccine is available in the endemic areas of India.