Monkey fever outbreak reported in Karnataka district

Bengaluru: An outbreak of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever, has been reported in some villages of Shivamogga district following which authorities have taken measures, including vaccination, to combat it, an health official said Thursday.

A team of doctors and para-medics had been deputed to the affected areas and a door-to-door verification was on to identify people affected by KFD, Shivamogga District Surveillance Officer (DSO) Dr B S Shankarappa said.

Allaying fears, he said early diagnosis was the key to control KFD, a tick-borne viral hemorrhagic fever endemic to South Asia, and people with poor immunity level might be more susceptible to it.

Since the disease is caused by tick, the district authorities were distributing insect repellent. Besides, a vaccination drive was also underway, the DSO said. The virus spreads through parasitic ticks which latch on to monkeys and is 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. The KFD infection, which starts with high fever and body ache, results in hemorrhage, similar to that in dengue.

BJP MLA from Sagar constituency in the district H Halappa claimed that four people from as many villages had died due to the fever in the current outbreak. Shankarappa, however, declined to confirm or deny the casualty figure.

“We have deputed three doctors there. Paramedical staff have also been deputed. Door-to door verification is also going on to identify affected people,” he told PTI. People with complications due to the fever were being referred to hospitals equipped to deal with such cases, he said adding a campaign was on to sensitise people.

Speaking to reporters, Halappa said at least 22 people were suffering from the disease. He had apprised Chief Minister H D Kumarawamy about the situation, the MLA added. Monkey fever cases had been reported in neighbouring Maharashtra and Goa in areas closer to forests over the years.