Monkey Fever scare: TN public health department issues health advisory

February 24, 2024
The Tamil Nadu public health department has issued a health advisory to the Tamil Nadu forest department

Chennai, Feb 24 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu public health department has issued a health advisory to the Tamil Nadu forest department and local authorities in areas bordering Karnataka as the threat of Monkey Fever looms large over the border villages.

Monkey Fever (Kyasanur Forest Disease) cases are on the rise in Karnataka. Till date, two persons have died due to the disease, while 103 others are admitted to different hospitals in Shivamogga, Uttara Kannada and Chickmagaluru districts.

A study conducted by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) along with the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has confirmed the presence of the deadly virus in Mysore and Hassan districts of Karnataka, which are bordering Tamil Nadu.

The state health and forest authorities have beefed up surveillance along the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border, as Monkey Fever cases are on the rise in the neighbouring state.

The disease is seasonal and more cases are reported during the dry season. The high-risk category population includes the forest staff, anti-poaching watchers, and forest guards.

The Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, is contiguous with the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka.

There are 200 field staff who spend close to six hours per day in the MTR, potentially exposing themselves to the virus, of which monkeys, rodents and shrews are common hosts.

The next few months are going to be crucial for the forest staff, as forest fires will be a norm which will send the ticks flying, exposing the field staff to the virus.

Health department sources told IANS that vaccination for Monkey Fever was given for six years till 2020 to forest field staff in the Nilgiris, but it was not done post the Covid-19 pandemic.

Monkey Fever has an incubation period of 3-8 days after which the symptoms of the disease — chills, fever and headache — start to show.

Severe muscle pain with vomiting, gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding may occur 3-4 days after the onset of the initial symptoms

It is to be noted that there is no specific treatment for Monkey Fever, though early hospitalisation and supportive therapy is important.


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