Monkey fever spreads in Karnataka, 21 cases reported

Healthcare workers in hospital premises. [FPK File Photo/ Zainab]

Bengaluru: Twenty one cases of monkey fever were reported in in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district, health officials announced. Among the affected persons, eight have been admitted to hospitals, while the remaining 13 are undergoing treatment at home.

Authorities are actively promoting awareness to educate people about preventive measures to curb the disease’s spread.

Monkey fever, also known as Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), is a seasonal tick-borne viral hemorrhagic fever prevalent in Southern India and poses a potential threat to human life. People residing in and around forested areas are particularly susceptible to the viral infection, as the virus is predominantly found in these regions.

The virus causing monkey fever belongs to the Flaviviridae family, the same family as viruses responsible for yellow fever and dengue, and is transmitted by monkeys. Human transmission occurs through contact with infected animals. As infected people do not contribute to the further transmission of Kyasanur Forest Disease, they are considered dead-end hosts.

Dr Niraj, the District Health Officer (DHO), emphasised the importance of avoiding entry into forested areas.

Those who must enter the forests are provided with repellent oil for application on exposed areas such as legs and hands, with a recommendation to thoroughly wash upon returning.

Dr Niraj reported 21 cases and urged people to contact health authorities if they experience symptoms like fever, cough, and cold.

He further highlighted that people experiencing a second episode of monkey fever may exhibit bleeding symptoms and a heightened temperature.

Precautions are essential, especially since previous vaccines have shown limited effectiveness, and a new vaccine is yet to be introduced. Until then, people are advised to exercise caution.

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