Kyasanur Forest Disease in India: Robust prevention and control strategy is the need of the hour
Author(s): Sumeet Juneja
Abstract: Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) is a tick-borne viral haemorrhagic fever endemic to South Asia, caused by the Kyasanur Forest Disease virus (KFDV), a member of the Flaviviridae family. This article highlights the urgent need for a robust prevention and control strategy for KFD in India. The disease primarily affects individuals with occupational exposure to outdoor settings, and transmission occurs through infected ticks primarily from monkeys to humans. Despite being recognized for over six decades, gaps in knowledge persist regarding pathogenesis, host response, and prevention measures. The disease's expansion is facilitated by human intrusion into forests, uncontrolled deforestation, and changing ecological dynamics. The indigenous formalin-inactivated tissue-culture vaccine, the primary preventive measure, exhibits suboptimal efficacy and low coverage. Learning from the Japanese encephalitis experience, the article underscores the importance of a comprehensive strategy based on surveillance, vector control, and targeted vaccination. The development of highly effective vaccines, improved diagnostic methods, and collaborative efforts among health authorities are essential to curbing KFD outbreaks in the future.