Panic over monkey fever unfounded, say health officials

Panic over monkey fever unfounded, say health officials

DH file photo for representation.

Bengaluru health officials on Thursday quashed rumours of an impending monkey fever outbreak in the city.

Fears that the Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), endemic to the Western Ghats, may have infected some in the city, were intensified by the discovery of two bonnet macaque carcasses in Dommasandra on February 3.

“The carcasses were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing, and the results came back negative,” explained Dr Sunanda Reddy, district surveillance officer, Bengaluru (urban), speaking at a press conference on H1N1 cases.

Named after its identification in the Kyasanur forest in 1957, the disease causes hemorrhagic fever and has a fatality rate of 3 to 10%. Reddy explained that KFD is a vector-borne disease passed on by ticks that feed on infected animals or humans.

“There is no incidence of the disease in Bengaluru. However, at the moment, people from Shivamogga are being tested for the usual symptoms -- high fever, frontal headaches and bleeding from the nose, throat, gums, plus gastrointestinal bleeding.”

Meanwhile, the city’s district surveillance unit urged people to report to a hospital immediately at the first sign of these symptoms. The health department is conducting surveys in Anekal taluk where the dead monkeys were found. Autopsy of the animals found that they had in fact died of food poisoning.