The Health department has intensified measures to combat the Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) or monkey fever in Wayanad district.
As a part of it, a vaccination drive began on Saturday in Thirunelly grama panchayat, where the largest number of KFD cases had been reported in the past two consecutive years.
According to the data available with the Health department, four KFD cases have been reported in the district this year so far. Three persons died of the disease and 29 KFD cases were reported in the district last year.
As the viral disease, transmitted to humans through a species of ticks found on monkeys, had been mainly reported from hamlets adjacent to forest on the Kerala-Karnataka border, the public in the areas should be vigilant, especially during the peak period from November to April, Savan Sara Mathew, district surveillance officer (non COVID-19), said.
If the public found any carcass of monkeys in forest areas, it should be reported to Health, Forest, or Animal Husbandry department officials, Dr. Savan said.
People on the fringes of forests should use personal protection measures such as gloves, gumboots, and lotions, before entering the forest. The lotions should also be applied on domestic animals before they are taken to the forest for grazing, she said.
A few carcasses of monkeys were found in the forest areas of Thirunelly grama panchayat recently and they have been sent for autopsy, she said.
Earlier, the disease was mainly reported from the five grama panchayats of Thirunelly, Pulpally, Mullankolly, Poothadi, and Noolpuzha in the district. However, the diseases was reported mainly from Thirunelly grama panchayat this year, she said.
The first case of the disease in the district was reported in 2013 and another confirmed case was reported in 2014. The virus wreaked havoc in the district in 2015 when 102 cases were reported and 11 persons died of the disease, Dr. Savan said.