With tick–borne disease Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) re–emerging in the forests of Karnataka, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has warned trekkers and nature enthusiasts visiting the vulnerable areas to take necessary precautions like applying tick repellents and getting vaccinated before entering into these areas.
"Control of ticks in the forest is far from easy, but health authorities need to continue educating villagers about using tick repellents before visiting the forest, especially during spring and summer, and ensure distribution of tick repellents to them. Health authorities must ensure that vaccination campaigns are initiated on time and completed before November every year," Director of NIV Devendra Mourya said.
The NIV, which has detected KFD in Shimoga district of Karnataka, has said in a study that vaccination is the key strategy for preventing KFD. However, during 2011, a booster vaccination campaign was not conducted in the district because of unavailability of vaccines, which might be a reason for the upsurge of KFD cases during 2012, the NIV study said.
The study has been published in the peer–reviewed journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Now NIV suspects presence of KFD causing ticks in the bio–diversity rich Western Ghats. It is planning to survey the Western Ghats for presence of KFD ticks.
KFD is a tick–borne viral disease, which was first recognised in 1957 in Shimoga District when an outbreak in monkeys in Kyasanur Forest was followed by an outbreak of hemorrhagic febrile illness in humans. Besides, fever and muscle pain, symptoms among the 61 laboratory–confirmed case–patients included bleeding, vomiting and abdominal pain. One patient died.
7 Aug 2013, Pune