Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD) is a tick-borne, acute, febrile viral illness endemic in southern India. No major studies have been done to understand the adaptive immune response during KFDV infection in humans. In this study, KFDV-positive patients were prospectively enrolled, and repeated peripheral blood collections were performed. Clinical and virologic characterization of these samples is reported along with phenotypic analysis of cellular immunity and quantitation of humoral immunity. We noted robust T and B cell responses, particularly of CD8 T cells, during KFDV infection in most of the patients. Virus clearance from the blood coincided with peak CD8 T cell activation and the appearance of KFDV-specific IgG. Increased frequency of plasmablasts and very few activated B cells were observed in the acute phase of KFD infection. Notably, only humoral immunity and activated B cell frequency in the acute phase correlated with prior KFDV vaccination, and only with 2 or more doses. This novel work has implications in KFD vaccine research as well as in understanding the pathogenesis.
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