Karnataka

Monkey fever: Travel advisory for pilgrims

Women being administered the vaccine against monkey fever in Shivamogga district. VAIDYA

Women being administered the vaccine against monkey fever in Shivamogga district. VAIDYA   | Photo Credit: VAIDYA

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Health Dept. is putting up signs cautioning visitors to Sigandur

It is customary for a large number of pilgrims to visit Chowdeshwari temple in Sigandur, nestled amid dense forests in the Sharavathi backwaters region, during the Sankranti festival. As the temple is situated in Sagar taluk of Shivamogga district where there is a high incidence of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), the Department of Health and Family Welfare plans to issue a travel advisory cautioning pilgrims.

KFD, also known as monkey fever, is a vector-borne disease transmitted through ticks. The viral infection spreads from monkeys to humans through tick bite. High fever, bleeding in gums and ache in joints are some of the symptoms of the disease.

Kiran S.K., Field Medical Officer, told The Hindu that unnatural death of monkeys was reported in the forest near Hasirumakki where pilgrims board the barge to go to Sigandur. Tests conducted on the blood samples and viscera of two dead monkeys in Hasirumakki region have tested positive for KFD.

Mr. Kiran said the situation warrants issuing a travel advisory to avoid a flare-up of the infection. It is a practice among pilgrims who visit Sigandur to consume food on the roadside. The verdant locations here are also spots for pre-wedding photo shoots. Pilgrims will be advised not to venture into the forest to avoid coming in contact with ticks. Boards will be installed on the roadside in Hasirumakki, Kalasavalli and Sigandur, issuing a warning. The department will also distribute pamphlets with ‘dos and dont’s’ at the point where tourists board the barge, he said.

Sagar taluk has been in the grip of KFD, with two persons from Aralagodu Gram Panchayat having died of the disease in December. As many as nine positive cases have been reported here during this period.

Mr. Kiran said that since October this year, around 31,000 persons from affected areas in the district have been administered the vaccine against KFD. In 2017, four persons died of KFD in the district and as many as 48 positive cases were reported.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:29:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/monkey-fever-travel-advisory-for-pilgrims/article25875214.ece

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