Vaccination drive against monkey fever to be intensified

5.17 lakh persons in 14 taluks to be vaccinated

The Department of Health and Family Welfare plans to take up a vaccination drive and step up surveillance activities to tackle Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever, in the 2019-20 season.

In 2018-19, 14 persons died in the State of monkey fever — 12 deaths in Shivamogga district and two in Uttara Kannada district. As many as 440 positive cases were reported in the State during this period of which 341 cases were from Shivamogga district. Aralagodu Gram Panchayat in Sagar taluk was identified as epicentre of the outbreak, where 10 deaths were reported. No positive case has been reported since May 23.

Kiran S.K., deputy director of Viral Diagnostic Laboratory, Shivamogga, the main arm of the department in tackling the disease, told The Hindu that, last year 14 taluks spread over eight districts of Karnataka had been identified as areas affected with KFD. The plan now is to administer vaccine to 5.17 lakh persons in these taluks. The order for the vaccine has been placed with the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals, Bengaluru. The lab will start receiving the vaccine from the first week of July, he said.

The vaccination drive used to commence in the last week of October, by which the ticks that spread the disease from monkeys to humans would become active. This year on, to enhance immunity among people in the affected areas, the vaccine will be given from the second week of July. The booster dose will be given in October last week, he said.

To step up surveillance, the department has decided to strengthen field stations of KFD in Sagar, Honnavar and Belthangady. One entomologist, two insect collectors, who will collect ticks from forests, and three multi-purpose workers would be appointed at each station. The recruitment process would conclude by August 1, Mr. Kiran said.

He said surveillance involved identifying the unnatural death of monkeys in forest, collecting blood and viscera samples for tests, and disposing the carcass safely. The coordination between field level staff of the Health and Family Welfare, Veterinary and Forest departments was necessary for the success of surveillance activities. A rapid response team, comprising officers from the three departments, would be formed by September in affected districts to ensure better coordination, he added.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:35:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/vaccination-drive-against-monkey-fever-to-be-intensified/article28236588.ece

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