Experts deliberate on changing epidemiology of KFD

Published - August 22, 2019 12:58 am IST - Bengaluru

Participants of a two-day national consultation on ‘Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) - An emerging pathogen in India’ that concluded in the city on Wednesday deliberated on the changing epidemiology of KFD, diagnosis, entomology and public health management and came up with recommendations.

Given the emerging need to understand the changing epidemiology, map ongoing research and identify future direction, the consultation was organised by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and WHO India following a request by the Karnataka government.

KFD, commonly known as monkey fever, was limited to Western Ghats of Karnataka for about seven decades. However, in the last seven years cases have also been reported from adjacent States along the Western Ghats (Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu). From November 23, 2018, till date, 15 deaths and 445 confirmed cases of KFD have been reported from Shivamogga, Uttara Kannada, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Belagavi and Udupi districts.

Jawaid Akthar, Secretary, State Health and Family Welfare, asserted the need for expert opinion to inform the disease control initiative.“Given that this disease has a seasonal surge, short-term actionable recommendations would be accorded highest priority by affected states, in consultation with the national agencies. Based on the expert recommendations, we will modify existing standard operating procedures (SOPs),” he told The Hindu later.

He said the State is committed to implementing immediate short-term measures before the next transmission season. “We will also ensure that further research is taken up with support from NCDC, ICMR and other agencies,” he said.

“Various issues including efficacy of the available vaccine and the need for development of a new vaccine, need for co-ordination among various departments, inter-State regional co-ordination strategy (among five states), need for strengthening routine surveillance through Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP); surveillance among ticks, cattle, animals; newer laboratory diagnostic facilities, testing kits; clinical management protocols at various levels, risk communication and involvement of local community are needed,” he added.

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