Monkey fever in Karnataka: Uttara Kannada district reports 31 cases in 15 days

Among those infected, 12 patients are admitted to hospitals while the rest are being treated at home, according to officials.

BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 02, 2024 | 9:06 PMUpdatedFeb 02, 2024 | 9:06 PM

KFD, also known as Monkey Fever, is a tick-borne viral disease.

The health officials of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka said, on Friday, 2 February, that the district has recorded 31 cases of monkey fever in the last 15 days.

Among those infected, 12 patients have been admitted to hospitals, while the rest are being treated at home. All those infected are stable and no serious cases have been reported so far, health officials said. Most of the cases were reported from Siddapur taluk.

The first case of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever, was reported on 16 January, officials said.

Also Read: In Karnataka, monkey bite results in death of a 66-year-old man

The transmission of fever

According to officials, monkey fever spreads due to the bite of an infected tick that generally survives on monkeys. Humans also contract the disease by coming in contact with cattle bitten by these ticks.

The authorities are carrying out door-to-door awareness programmes about the precautions to be taken. Those living in and around the forest area need to be more careful as they are at high risk of contracting this disease, health officials said.

Uttara Kannada District Health Officer Dr Neeraj B said, “Once you contract monkey fever, you develop symptoms in the next three to five days which could be high fever, severe body ache, headache, redness of eyes, cold, and cough.”

“As of Friday, we have 31 cases of monkey fever in the district. 12 people are admitted in hospitals. All of them are stable and so far, we have not witnessed any serious cases. All precautions are being taken. Our medical officers and field staff have held multiple meetings at the Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat levels. All our taluk and district hospitals are equipped with staff and facilities to deal with such cases,” he told PTI.

Forest officials have also been roped in to create awareness among people about the precautions to be taken, it was stated.

Also Read: Karnataka govt announces ‘Digital Detox’ initiative 

KFD guidelines

It can be noted that the Health Department recently released guidelines to manage KFD. The guidelines focus on how the concerned officials should deal with suspected cases of KFD.

Human surveillance is important to manage KFD and to prevent morbidity and mortality. For this, the department has emphasised active surveillance.

The officials also need to consider areas where there are unusual monkey deaths as hotspots.

Human surveillance should begin once an unusual monkey death is reported — usually one month before the start of the transmission season — wherein the concerned field staff will start conducting house-to-house surveys and listing all suspected cases based on case definition.

These listed cases will be referred to the concerned medical officer to arrange for sample collection within 24 hours of reporting. Also, suspected cases should be followed up for sample collection at concerned Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

Once a confirmed case of KFD in a human, monkey or tick is reported, weekly surveillance has to be done and this should be extended for an aerial radius of 5 km.

Meanwhile, passive surveillance must be done at the health facility in two ways. Fever cases that come directly to health institutions for treatment and cases that are suspected during active surveillance shall also visit the health institution for treatment.

The samples will be tested on a priority basis to ensure the sending of immediate results to the treating physician.

(With PTI inputs)