Monkey fever returns to Wayanad, health department urges caution

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Kalpetta: At a time when the state is battling against the third wave of COVID-19, Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) commonly called monkey fever has resurfaced in Wayanad. The first case of KFD has been reported from Thirunelly village near Kalpetta.

A person involved in forest-related occupation visited Community Health Centre in Appapara with symptoms like fever and body pain. The doctors identified it as a suspected case of monkey fever and shifted the person to Government Medical College. The test conducted at Public Health Lab confirmed that he is suffering from monkey fever.

Following this, samples of 20 individuals from the panchayat were tested. However, no one tested positive for the disease. Meanwhile, the health department has urged people to exercise caution. The authorities concerned informed that measures are already in place to prevent the spread of KFD after Karnataka reported a case last month.

Monkey fever cases were confirmed in the district earlier also. Fatalities were also reported. Mostly, the fever surfaces in the months between December and June The first case of monkey fever was reported in 2013 at Noolpuzha. Since then it is resurfacing. In the investigation conducted by the District Vector Control Unit with the help of Alappuzha Virology Institute, it was found that the presence of KFD virus passing parasitic ticks are high in Appapara and Begoor regions. However, the ticks outside the forest did not have the presence of the virus, the investigation found.

What is Monkey Fever?

Monkey fever or KFD is a disease caused by a virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae. The virus spreads through parasitic ticks. It is passed on to monkeys and transmitted to humans through tick bites. It was first reported in the country from Kyasanur forests in Shivamogga district in 1957 and hence came to be known as KFD. Fever, headache, body pain and stomach ache are the initial symptoms.

Preventive measures

  • Vaccination
  • Avoid contact with monkeys
  • Inform forest officials if you find dead monkeys
  • Tick control
  • Wear gloves, boots and ensure protective clothing while entering forest
  • Wash clothes in hot water and dry in sunlight

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