Feature

Monkey fever unbound

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Science  11 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6193, pp. 130-133
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6193.130

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Summary

Kyasanur forest disease (KFD), a tick-borne hemorrhagic fever known in India as monkey fever, has been a regular visitor to southwestern India's Karnataka state since the virus first emerged in 1956. Year after year, the region would see, on average, about 400 cases and a couple dozen deaths. Then, in late 2012, the virus made a geographic break, sickening forest workers in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, a popular ecotourism destination. The Bandipur outbreak alerted Indian scientists to disconcerting gaps in knowledge about KFD, and it reinforced a sense that the nation is acutely ill-prepared to combat emerging viruses, especially in hotspots like southwestern India that have high biodiversity and heavy human-animal interactions. To fill these gaps and gird itself against other emerging pathogens, the Indian government in 2013 launched a 5-year, $107 million effort to open 160 virology research laboratories nationwide.

  • * in Karnataka state, India