District Health officer warns about monkey fever in district

11:51 AM, Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Health-officer Mangaluru : The District Health and Family Welfare Department has taken all preventive measures to check the outbreak of the Kyasanur Forest Disease – monkey fever – in Dakshina Kannada.

District Health Officer Dr Ramakrishna Rao told reporters on Tuesday that the previous case of monkey fever was reported in 2014-15 at Beluvai.

Three people from Shivamogga district with suspected symptoms of monkey fever have been admitted in three different hospitals in Mangaluru for treatment, he informed.

“Villages on the periphery of forest – like Shirthadi, Shiradi, Beluvai, Subrahmanya, Nelyady, and Mundaje – are under surveillance. The ticks found on the domestic animals in such villages have been collected by a team of epidemiologists and entomologists to examine them for a virus carrying KFD,” said Dr Rao.

He added that Asha workers and health workers in villages situated near the forest area were creating awareness among the residents by distributing handbills on monkey fever.

The DHO said that cows that are left to graze in the forest area get ticks on their bodies. “Humans contract infection from bites of nymphs of the ticks,” he explained.

He also appealed to the people to inform officers of the Forest Department, the Department of Animal Husbandry and the Department of Health and Family Welfare, if they come across cases of death of monkeys in the forest. “The samples of the dead monkeys will be sent to a laboratory in Shivamogga to confirm in the death was due to KFD,” he added.

The DHO said that monkey fever is seasonal and is reported from December to May.

“If a patient suffers from continuous fever for 8 to 10 days, with headache, pain in the limbs, backache, redness in the eyes, dehydration and bleeding skin, nose, and mouth, he or she should immediately contact the primary health centre or clinic,” he advised.

Speaking further, Dr Rao said, “Those who go into the forest area, in search of their cows or for firewood, should apply DMP oil on their hands and legs as repellent to prevent contact with ticks. As a precautionary measure, such people should also have bath in hot water and wash their clothes in hot water after returning from the forest.”

He said that it was advisable to avoid trekking in forest areas where monkey fever cases have been reported.

The disease was first reported in Kyasanur forest of the state in March 1957.

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