KFD cases in Kerala put Mysuru health teams on their toes

The health authorities of Mysuru and Kerala at a meeting in Manathavady, Kerala, recently.

The health authorities of Mysuru and Kerala at a meeting in Manathavady, Kerala, recently.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Tribals, and forest and police staff working in areas close to the forests to take precautionary measures against tick bites; health teams put on alert

The health authorities in Mysuru are on their toes with an alert sounded in the bordering areas of the district after two positive cases of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), commonly known as monkey fever, were reported in the neighbouring Mananthavady-Wayanad area in Kerala.

KFD was entirely new in the area but it had been reported among two Kerala residents in January last year who recovered following medication. These two residents had visited a tribal hamlet in the area bordering H.D. Kote taluk.

The monkey fever cases are usually reported from Shivamogga district and some suspected cases had also been reported recently from Chikkamagaluru.

The two recent cases of KFD in Kerala had led the health authorities to step up surveillance against the viral infection, and the forest authorities had been asked to report any unusual deaths of monkeys, particularly langurs.

The health authorities from Mysuru and Wayanad had a joint meeting at Mananthavady on Saturday to discuss the steps to be taken by them in the wake of two confirmed cases and the coordination that needs to be established for checking the further spread of the infection.

Sources in the Health Department said uncontrolled fever for over a week, severe muscle pain, skin rashes, and severe cold were among the primary symptoms of KFD. If the fever does not come under control in 3 to 4 days, it needs to be treated symptomatically like dengue.

The meeting discussed about unravelling the source of the infection besides checking any unusual deaths of monkeys, particularly Grey Langurs, on the Karnataka-Kerala border adjoining H.D. Kote taluk as abnormal deaths were considered a major evidence for authenticating the outbreak of the disease like in Shivamogga district where such deaths had been reported.

The virus infects langurs and the ticks on their bodies suck blood of such infected monkeys, spreading the infection to humans.

But the disease does not spread from humans to humans, according to Chidambar, District Vector-Borne Diseases Control Officer, Mysuru, who attended the meeting along with other health officers. Revenue and health officials from Kerala attended the cross-border meeting.

He told The Hindu that the forest staff, tribals and others living on the forest fringes had been vaccinated against the disease and the booster dose would be given shortly following the scare. Vaccination is given to those on the forest fringes once a year. The forest and the police personnel working in the area had been asked to use tick repellents as a precautionary measure, he added.

Dr. Chidambar said a joint inter-state coordination team had been constituted for working together for surveillance and preventing the disease from spreading further. Both the teams will share details as and when required to effectively handle the situation, he added.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 6:50:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/kfd-cases-in-kerala-put-mysuru-health-teams-on-their-toes/article30969435.ece

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