Monkey Fever Claims Two Lives in Karnataka: Urgent Measures Needed to Contain Outbreak

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Monkey Fever Claims Two Lives in Karnataka – Karnataka battles Monkey Fever, public awareness, preventive measures, and swift action are imperative to curb further casualties and contain the outbreak.

Karnataka [INDIA], February 06, 2024: In a concerning turn of events, the deadly Monkey Fever, scientifically known as Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), has claimed two lives in Karnataka, prompting health authorities to swiftly implement preventive measures to curb its spread. The tick-borne haemorrhagic fever, caused by the KFD virus, has seen a surge in cases, with 49 individuals testing positive in the state.

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The victims, an 18-year-old girl and a 79-year-old man, succumbed to the disease, highlighting the urgency of addressing the situation. Initial symptoms of Monkey Fever include sudden fever, headache, body ache, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, with severe cases exhibiting haemorrhagic symptoms.

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Understanding Monkey Fever – Kyasanur Forest Disease

Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), commonly known as Monkey Fever, is a viral haemorrhagic disease first identified in 1957 in the Kyasanur Forest in the Western Ghats of India. Dr. Laxman Jessani, a Consultant Infectious Disease at Apollo Hospitals Navi Mumbai, emphasizes that the disease has expanded beyond its initial confines, affecting neighboring states like Kerala, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.

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Recent cases in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district indicate ongoing transmission, requiring continued surveillance and preventive measures in affected areas, according to Dr. Jessani.

How Monkey Fever Spreads and its Symptoms

Monkey Fever spreads through tick bites carrying the virus or, less commonly, contact with infected animals, primarily monkeys. Symptoms range from fever with possible haemorrhagic and/or neurological features. Dr. Jessani notes that around 20% of cases may develop severe haemorrhagic or neurological issues, with an estimated annual case fatality rate of 3-5%.

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Dr. Shruti Sharma, Consultant-Internal Medicine at Yatharth Super Speciality Hospital, outlines the progression of the disease, starting with an incubation period of 3 to 7 days post-tick bite. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, severe exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, meningitis, confusion, and haemorrhagic signs.

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Diagnosis, Prevention, and Management

Due to unclear early symptoms, diagnosing Monkey Fever relies on clinical suspicion and confirmatory lab tests. Dr. Sharma emphasizes the importance of early detection for effective management. Preventive measures include personal protection against ticks, wearing appropriate clothing, and using repellents. Monitoring and controlling tick populations in wildlife, especially monkeys, is crucial to preventing the virus’s spread.

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Dr. Manjusha Agarwal, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Global Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai, provides key prevention and management tips:

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  1. A vaccine is available in endemic areas, offering protection against KFD.
  2. Wearing protective clothing, using tick repellents, and avoiding tick-infested areas reduce the risk of transmission.
  3. In the absence of specific antiviral treatment, medical care focuses on alleviating symptoms and providing supportive measures.
  4. Severe cases may require hospitalization for close monitoring and intensive care.
  5. Maintaining hydration is crucial to manage fever and prevent complications.
  6. Analgesics and antipyretics may be prescribed to alleviate pain and reduce fever.

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As Karnataka battles Monkey Fever, public awareness, preventive measures, and swift action are imperative to curb further casualties and contain the outbreak.

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