The government began to subside when an epidemic of monkey fever spread



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In the midst of a political deadlock, Karnataka was gripped by the threat of an epidemic transmitted by debilitating vectors – Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), commonly called & # 39; monkey fever.

First reported in 1957 in the Kyasanur forest of Sorab taluk in the Shivamogga district, this disease was initially considered to be less dangerous because it was only limited to a small demographic section. But now, KFD has taken a frightening form because it spread rapidly in the Malnad and coastal districts of Karnataka. In the first few weeks of seasonal outbreaks, the disease killed seven people and infected hundreds of villagers living in and around the forest.

The health department is not prepared for this year's monkey fever outbreak because it has released a horrific death story in a relatively unknown area. Fever among humans linked to the sudden death of monkeys in the wild has returned with features that are more virulent nowadays.

A piece of sample taken from various locations around the Aralagodu region in Sagar Taluk last month and tested at the National Institute of Virology, Pune has revealed that the disease has returned with an increase in viral load this year! While the great turmoil, in the history of its 61-year outbreak, occurred in 1983-84 which killed 136 people in and around Belthangady Dakshina Kannada divorce, he has shown the same trend this year in a relatively new environment, with some monkeys tested positive for KFD virus every day.

While the health department has succeeded in holding back the death rate due to a rapid round of vaccinations across taluk covering more than 15,000 populations in less than a few days since the outbreak, and clearing the area with increased supervision, initial damage is still considered a distraction from the department because of its skewed policies. lack of better medical facilities and the absence of research activities due to lack of funds by the state government.

"There is almost no effort by state governments to systematically document or study disease outbreaks. Except for seasonal vaccination efforts and the distribution of DMP oil (mosquito repellent), there has been no action by the government to date to address this epidemic, "said a KFD member Janajagruthi Okkoota, who works towards eradicating disease in Malnad. region.

Various reasons

Dr. Kiran S K, field officer at Aralagodu PHC who, together with health worker forces and doctors led the health department battle against the dreaded disease, felt there might be several reasons for the outbreak of the outbreak. "Villages around Sagar Taluk have not been vaccinated against this disease in the past even though the outbreak of KFD was felt in adjacent taluks. Generally, vaccinations are taken in areas where he has repeatedly lifted his hood. But Aralagodu doesn't have a history of KFD. This, perhaps, is one of the main reasons for this year's deadly epidemic, "he said DH even when he oversees treatment facilities at the Aralagodu Primary Health Care Center (PHC).

Adding to the misery, a study conducted by entomologists in the region also revealed that villages in the region had high flea densities – transmitting the KFD virus from monkeys to humans. He also added that the outbreak in this region, which was largely protected by surrounding water bodies, had proved another factor that the virus already existed.

"We did not see large-scale migration of monkey populations from the affected area to this area because it was surrounded by water bodies. But the way he attacks with his malignant properties has proven that the area is a reservoir of viruses with inactive characteristics. However, it is still difficult for us to ascertain the real trigger that paved the way for a panic outbreak, "Dr. Kiran explained.

Dr Munivenkata Raju, another health officer posted at Sagar, said, "The only interesting feature about KFD is that there was no report before but now because of increased media attention and awareness among the people, people have reported the death of monkeys. This has helped the department in planning prevention activities and further stopping the spread. "This outbreak has gripped the region in a psychosis of fear that people who until now have been reluctant to be vaccinated will advance themselves to get vaccines.

Alarming sign Despite the health department's efforts, this disease spreads its tentacles in an unimaginable way that includes a new geographical field. "The death of infected monkeys is a worrying sign when fleas fall on the body and multiply in thousands to spread viruses among humans infected with tick bites.

Visceral samples taken from dead monkeys have shown positive for KFD in areas such as Shikaripura, Byndoor, Kundapurand, Udupi taluks encourage us to take vaccination drives within a radius of 5 to 10 km, "explained Dr. Kiran.

Although there is no cure for KFD, pure medical intervention is based on the treatment of associated symptoms. "KFD is a biphasic disease with symptoms that occur in two stages. Initially, the patient was treated for fever, cold and headache and was sent home after a week of treatment. After two weeks, the fever subsides and cold, neurological – mental symptoms

disorders, blurred vision and tremor coupled with digestive problems that arise. In one of the cases we handled, we were just about to be discharged from the hospital because he seemed to have recovered. But, suddenly he experienced neurological symptoms that resulted in death, "explained Dr. Raghunandan, District Surgeon at McGann Hospital in Shivamogga.

According to Dr. S Sajjan Shetty, Joint Director, National Program for Control of Infectious Diseases of the Vector, KFD was only seen between December and May. "Lice cause dead disease during the rainy season. Only during the nymphal stage do they cause great damage. While we provide care, we have also made arrangements for people to be accepted at Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Manipal for further treatment. More health professionals have been deployed in this area for supervision and care. Car units have been patrolling the area and officials rushed to places where monkey deaths were reported by villagers, "Dr. Shetty explained.

In fact, the department has placed three sophisticated ambulances on a ventilator at PHC Aralagodu. They have brought KFD patients to Manipal twice a day.

"On average, we go to Manipal twice a day with at least four to six patients, although at first, there are more patients," said an ambulance driver. Interestingly, para

PHC has sent a notice about the list of documents needed to enter at KMC Hospital which is 80 km away. Both maintenance costs and ambulance fees

borne by the state government. Because the mortality rate from KFD touches 8 to 10% this year, people refuse to risk themselves and every patient with symptoms

Fever is being taken to Manipal without thinking twice. While public health officials conducted house-to-house inspections of people's condition by taking blood samples from people with associated symptoms, senior health officials and veterinarians had noticed the death of monkeys and performed autopsies. In addition, the doctor cleans the area around the monkey carcass by spraying malathion powder, a tickicide, within a radius of 50 to 75 meters to kill the lice that cause wilt from the carcass.

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