Training activities for officers of Rapid Response Teams (RRT) formed at the district-level to tackle Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever, have commenced.
During 2018-19, 12 districts in Karnataka were identified as affected by KFD. A rapid response team (RRT) to tackle the disease has been formed in each of the districts to tackle the disease effectively. The RRT comprise senior officers in the department at the district-level, including the District Health Officer, District Malaria Prevention Officer, District Surveillance Officer, an epidemiologist, an entomologist, a senior micro-biologist and Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry.
Kiran S.K., Deputy Director, Viral Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL), Shivamogga, the main arm of Department of Health and Family Welfare tackling the disease told The Hindu that a three-day training programme for RRT members from six districts was held in Shivamogga from September 19 to 21. On the first day, the experts presented lectures on the life cycle of the virus that cause KFD, the ticks that spread the disease from monkeys to humans; the importance of field-level surveillance including collection of ticks and viscera of dead monkeys to prevent the spread of the disease; and protocol related to vaccination and treatment procedures. The participants were taken to the KFD-affected villages in Sagar taluk on the second day. During the field visit, they interacted with people who have recovered from the disease and medical staff serving with primary health centres there. They also visited the camps where the vaccine was being administered against KFD. During the visit, they were briefed on the way in which the Accredited Social Health Activists were maintaining documents related to the vaccination of each family in the affected village.
On the last day, they viewed the functioning of the Real Time Reverse Transcriptise Polymerase Chain Reaction(RTPCR) testing facility at VDL, Shivamogga. Mr. Kiran said that information was provided to them on packing of the blood samples of the patients, the ticks collected from the field and the viscera of the monkeys to be sent for tests and the documentation process related to blood sample testing.
He said that similar training would be provided to the members of the RRTs of the remaining six districts from October 10 to 12. The field staff of the Forest Department are considered an important component in tackling KFD as they provide information on KFD deaths of monkeys while the field staff of Department of Animal Husbandry collect the viscera of such monkeys for testing. In November, it has been planned to provide a similar training to the field staff of Forest and Animal Husbandry departments from the affected districts, he added.