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Business News/ Science / Health/  Explained | Monkey fever kills 2 in Karnataka: Definition, transmission, prevention and more
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Explained | Monkey fever kills 2 in Karnataka: Definition, transmission, prevention and more

According to details, cattle are probably important hosts for adult Haemophysalis spinigera ticks, that are being considered as the principal vector for Monkey fever.

Monkeys sitting on a wall of a building. (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma/File) (PTI)Premium
Monkeys sitting on a wall of a building. (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma/File) (PTI)

Recently, two people succumbed to Kyasanur Forest Disease so far in Karnataka, which prompted state Health department officials to hold meetings and review the preparedness to tackle the spread of the viral infection, reported news agency PTI.

The first death due to Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) – also known as monkey fever – was reported in Hosanagar taluk of Shivamogga district on January 8. The victim was an 18-year-old girl.

The second fatality was reported at Manipal in Udupi district when a 79-year-old man from Sringeri taluk in Chikkamagaluru died in a private hospital, added the report.

Till now, the state has witnessed 49 positive cases of monkey fever with a maximum of 34 cases being reported in Uttara Kannada district followed by 12 in Shivamogga and the remaining three in Chikkamagaluru district.

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Karnataka's Health Commissioner mentioned that since 1 January, the Health Department has collected 2,288 samples from the affected districts where cases of KFD were reported, adding 48 have tested positive for the disease.

What is Monkey Fever or KFD? How is it transmitted?

According to monkeyfeverrisk.ceh.ac.UK, KFD is a tick-borne viral hemorrhagic disease that can be fatal to humans and other primates.

The causal agent, Kyasanur Forest Disease Virus, is a member of the tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) complex, which is transmitted by a range of tick species, with Haemophysalis spinigera being considered the principal vector. They generally survive on monkeys. Humans also contract the disease by contacting cattle bitten by ticks.

As per details, castles are probably important hosts for adult Haemophysalis spinigera ticks. Humans who contract with KFD virus when bitten by an infected tick or by coming in contact with an infected animal are considered dead-end hosts.

However infected humans cannot infect ticks or other people with the virus. So they do not play a role in the onward transmission of KFD virus.

Who is affected?

First emerged in 1957 in the Kyasanur Forest in Karnataka, KFD has spread to new districts and states within India since 2012.

The health site claims that human cases have increased significantly to around 500 each year and 5-10 percent infected by KFD develop haemorrhagic symptoms. Over the last five years, there have been at least 340 confirmed deaths from KFD.

Affected people include:

a) resident and migratory farmers who graze animals (largely cattle) in the forest.

b) Tribal forest-dwellers who harvest fuel wood and non-timber forest products.

c) Daily laborers in plantations or for state forest departments.

How it can be prevented?

a) Vaccination

b) Spreading more awareness

With agency inputs.

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Published: 04 Feb 2024, 08:25 PM IST
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