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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Kyasanur Forest Disease in India (Goa, Kerala)

21 Apr 2015

The media has reported on Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) in India. A 38-year-old forest worker from Cheeyambam, Wayanad district in the northeast of Kerala state, died from KFD on 13 April 2015. A government offical reported that around 165 suspected cases of KFD have been reported in the district since 16 January 2015, of those 69 tested positive for KFD virus. The death reported in this news item is said to be the 9th in the district in the last two months.

An illness that has been affecting the residents of Pali village, Sattari sub-district in northeast Goa, has been confirmed as Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD). The local community centre and Goa Medical College have been alerted to the outbreak in the village in order that those affected are cared for appropriately. The number of villagers affected by KFD has not been mentioned in this report.

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 the southern India in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala which neighbours the state of Goa.

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.