Shivamogga: At least six people succumbed to monkey fever that is also known as Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD).  All six victims belong to Aralagodu in Shivamogga district in Karnataka.

18-year-old Shwetha was the latest victim. Shwetha was being treated at Sahyadri Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital in Shivamogga.

The other victims are Parshwanath Jain, Krishnappa of Vatemakki, Manjunath, Lokaraj Jain and Ramakka.

The Deputy Commissioner AK Dayanand visited the hospital and then Aralagodu, where he assured people of necessary precautions taken by the district administration. He said apart from medical help, an ambulance will be available 24 hours to rush to the aid of anyone reportedly suffering from the disease.

A helpline 104 has also been activated to help those suffering from fever and other ailments that could be the symptomatic of monkey fever.

“An outbreak of monkey fever was earlier reported in some villages of Shivamogga district following which authorities have taken measures, including vaccination, to combat it,” a health official said on Thursday.

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

Allaying fears, he said that early diagnosis was the key to control KFD, a tick-borne viral haemorrhagic fever endemic to South Asia.

“Since the disease is caused by tick, the district authorities distributed insect repellent. Besides, a vaccination drive is also underway, the DSO said.”

He also iterated that people with poor immunity level are more susceptible to it.

The virus spreads through parasitic ticks which latch on to monkeys and the virus is then transmitted to through tick bites on humans. It was first reported in the country from Kyasanur forests in Shivamogga district in 1957 and therefore the disease was named KFD.

The KFD infection, which starts with high fever and body ache, results in haemorrhage, like that in dengue.

BJP MLA from Sagar constituency in the district H Halappa claimed that four people from villages had died due to the fever in the current outbreak.

Shankarappa, however, refused to confirm or deny the casualty numbers. "We have deputed three doctors there. Paramedical staff have also been deputed. Door-to door verification is also being conducted 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 that 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. 

*Image used for representation purpose only.

* With PTI inputs