With monkey fever claiming two lives in Goa so far this year, both state health and forest departments have come together to spread awareness about the disease. The two departments are jointly running the awareness campaign in Sattari taluka where the two deaths due to monkey fever, also known as Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), were reported last month.
A meeting of forest and health departments was called here in Sattari on Monday to deliberate on the issues and allay the fear in the minds of the people on KFD prevailing in the state, a senior health department official said.
Monkey fever has been prevalent in rural areas of Goa for the last five years.
“KFD is not transmitted person to person but by tick bite,” the official said.
He informed that in 2015, 36 people tested positive, while in 2016, 279 cases were positive. This year till April 25, 76 persons tested positive for the disease, Utkarsh Betkikar, an epidemiologist with Directorate of Health Services, told officials in the meeting.
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According to the officer, there is a need to create awareness about the preventive vaccination and the vaccination dose schedule should be followed.
The KFD vaccination began in the state in 2016, wherein 8,597 people were given the first dose, of whom 3,133 took the second dose, while only 981 persons took the third vaccination.
The officials also visited Hivare and Rive village forest areas yesterday where monkeys were detected with KFD.
Conservator of Forest, Mahesh Kumar Shambhu said the role of forest department is extremely crucial in detection of KFD as monkey carcass in forests is the first indicator of suspected KFD virus infection in the area.
Disposal of carcass is done in a very scientific way and this is being done in all wildlife areas of Goa, he said, adding that forest department is keeping an eye on unnatural death of monkeys.