Kyasanur Forest Disease: An Ethnography of a Disease of Development

Mark Nichter

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36 Scopus citations


Kyasanur forest disease (KFD) is an example of a disease of development associated with deforestation in South India. This ethnographic account discusses the ways in which this unfamiliar debilitating disease was interpreted by South Kanarese villagers during an epidemic outbreak. Attention is focused on social and historical dimensions of emergent explanatory models. Highlighted is the manner in which physical aspects of the disease served as natural symbols for its social construction. Also noted is the metonymic relationship of body and land that underscored explanations linking the duties of feudal kings to the well‐being of their kingdoms at a time following land reform and the division of estates. Beyond a consideration of co‐extensive ideas of etiology, health‐care decision making during the KFD epidemic is explored. 1987 American Anthropological Association

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-423
Number of pages18
JournalMedical anthropology quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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