TEST KITS FOR MONKEY FEVER
Context: The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, has developed a point-of-care rapid test kit for the diagnosis of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), commonly known as ‘monkey fever.
- As of now, Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT- PCR) and serology test using IgM capture ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) are done to diagnose the disease.
- This usually takes one to two days for the results. Moreover, the blood samples from the districts have to be transported to the Viral Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL), Shivamogga, which is the main arm of the Department of Health and Family Welfare tackling the disease.
THE NEW RAPID TEST
- The test kit, is developed by the Biosafety Laboratory (BSL)-Level 4 team of NIV
- The new rapid test is a molecular test for which blood samples will be drawn and tested at the PHC itself.
- This will enable diagnosis to be provided at the point of care within two hours,
MONKEY FEVER CASES IN KARNATAKA
- KFD was limited to the Western Ghats of Karnataka for about seven decades.
- But in the last seven years, cases have also been reported from adjacent States along the Western Ghats (Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu).
- The rapid test will be of great help in Karnataka, which is one of the worst affected States.
We need an aggressive vaccination drive in the affected areas.
KYASANUR FOREST DISEASE
- Kyasanur forest disease(KFD) is a tick-borne viral hemorrhagic fever endemic to South India.
- The disease is caused by a virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae, which also includes yellow fever and dengue fever, which are transmitted by monkeys.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- The symptoms include a high fever with frontal headaches, followed byhemorrhagic symptoms, such as bleeding from the nasal cavity, throat, and gums, as well as gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Other symptoms include vomiting, muscle stiffness, tremors, absent reflexes, and mental disturbances.
- An affected person may recover in two weeks’ time, but the convalescent period is typically very long, lasting for several months.
- Muscle aches and weakness also occur during this period and the affected person is unable to engage in physical activities.
- A variety of animals are thought to bereservoir hosts for the disease, including porcupines, rats, squirrels, mice, and shrews.
- Thevector for disease transmission is Haemaphysalis spinigera, a forest tick.
- Humans contract infection from the bite ofnymphs of the tick.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
- Prevention is by vaccination, as well as preventive measures such as protective clothing, tick control, and mosquito control.
- Thevaccine for KFDV consists of formalin-inactivated KFDV.
- The vaccine has a 62.4% effectiveness rate for individuals who receive two doses.
- For individuals who receive an additional dose, the effectiveness increases to 82.9%.
HISTORY OF THE DISEASE
- The disease was first reported fromKyasanur Forest of Karnataka in India in March 1957.
- The disease first manifested as anepizootic outbreak among monkeys, killing several of them in the year 1957.
- Hence the disease is also locally known as “monkey disease” or “monkey fever”.
- The virus has been detected in monkeys in parts of Bandipur National Park (Chamarajnagar) and parts of the Nilgiris.
- Human infection occurred in Bandipur through handling of dead monkeys that were infected.
- A human carrier was also detected in Wayanad (Kerala).
- The disease has shown its presence in the adjacent states of Karnataka including Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat