A string of Monkey Fever cases are now being detected from neighbouring Maharashtra after the disease left three dead and hundereds infected in Goa last year, according to state health officials.
Also, researchers say that Kyasanoor Forest Disease (KFD), which was originally detected in Kyasanoor forest of Shimoga in Karnataka, has been present all along the Western Ghats striking on farmers of Goa, Kerala and Maharashtra.
Patients are now being reported from Maharashtra. The disease is all across Western Ghats. There is no border for this disease. It is carried by ticks and is seasonal, mostly found between the months of December to May which is a dry season,” G Arun Kumar, virologist working with Manipal University’s Centre for Virus Research told PTI.
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Three people died after being diagnosed with KFD in Goa’s Sattari taluka last year which prompted the State Health department to undertaken a mass vaccination drive, covering more than 8,000 people in this remote area till date.
Kumar said this disease which was reported in 1957 in Shimoga has been prevalent in Maharashtra but was never detected in absence of the mechanism to diagnose the blood samples of victim farmers.
Now after much awareness on KFD, the farmers who are referred from Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg area to Goa Medical College or District Hospital in Mapusa town, have been diagnosed positive for the disease.
Meanwhile, in Goa, KFD has continued plaguing Goa’s Sattari taluka with 26 people testing positive for the ailment amongst the blood samples taken from 157 people at Community Health Centre in Valpoi town, 50 kms from Panaji.
The rate of KFD patients from Sattari has decreased but GMC and district hospital at Mapusa are increasingly getting patients from neighbouring Maharashtra,” a senior official from Directorate of Health Services told PTI confirming that the disease has spread further in Western Ghats.
The Monkey Fever raised an alarm in Goa in 2014 when there was a sudden rise in deaths due to unidentified fever in Sattari’s Pale village.
Although official records indicated that there was only one death, the villagers had claimed that every week one person used to die from their village.