Black langur in the Nilgiris died recently of Kyasanur Forest Disease; 11 human cases were reported in Karnataka

A heath alert has been sounded in the tribal areas and border villages of the district for a zoonotic disease - Kyasanur Forest Disease – after it caused the death of a Black Langur in Mudhumalai area of the Niligiris district.

Surveillance for suspicious deaths of wild and domestic animals have been stepped up in areas such as Karamadai, Anaikatti, Palamalai and Mettupalayam.

While no transmission to humans had been reported in Coimbatore or other parts of the State so far, R. Damodharan, Deputy Director of Health Services, told journalists here on Friday that 11 human cases were reported within the past ten days at Gundlupet - the last town in Karnataka en route to Udhagamandalam – of which one person died.

The Health Department’s ‘Hospital-on-Wheels’ and the non-governmental organisations implementing Medical Outreach (MOR) initiative among tribals have been told look out for suspicious cases in the remote hamlets.

The persons most at risk were hunters, forest dwellers, hikers, campers, truckers and forest workers. The personnel Department of Animal Husbandry would report any suspicious case among the domestic cattle while the Forest Department would do the same for wild animals.

In the press briefing, he informed that Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) in Coimbatore was monitoring fever cases all hospitals, public and private, with no suspicious cases reported in the last 15 days.

The number of fever cases was remaining steady between 40 and 60 with no sudden spike. However, the proximity of Coimbatore to the locations of reported cases was causing concern.

The hosts for the virus that caused KFD, Dr Damodharan said, were monkeys, rodents and bats besides goats, cow and sheep.

It was transmitted by the bite of an infected tick (Haemaphysalis spinigera). Human transmission occurred either through a tick bite or by contact with an infected animal.

The confirmatory test for KFD was serologic testing using enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay or the ELISA test, the same as for diagnosing dengue.