Ten primates die of suspected monkey fever in Bandipur forest

Five forest personnel contract infection, alert sounded

Ten primates die of suspected monkey fever in Bandipur forest

Officials have been put on high alert following the suspected outbreak of Kyasanur forest disease or monkey disease in Maddur range of the tiger reserve in Bandipur forest.

Officials are awaiting laboratory reports to take steps to ensure that forest personnel do not contract the infection.

In the past week, eight Bonnet Macaques (monkeys) and two common langurs were found dead in areas near Alegowdanakatte anti-poaching camp, off the National Highway-212 which connects to Sulthan Bathery in Kerala.

Five members of the anti-poaching camp, Chikka Kariaiah, Pradeep, Srinivas, Rajappa and Linganna, have contracted the infection and they have been admitted to the government hospital in Gundlupet.

The condition of Chikka Kariaiah and Pradeep is said to be serious.
A release from the director, Bandipur tiger reserve, Kumar Pushkar said that the 10 primates were dull and sluggishness before dying.

Post mortem report

The first post-mortem was conducted on November 20 and the symptoms indicated Kyasanur forest disease.

Veterinary officer Dr  D N Nagaraju told Deccan Herald that the blood samples and two carcasses have been sent for examination to the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals, Bangalore.

A team of experts led by deputy director Dr Sandhya from Veterinary Diseases Laboratory, Shimoga, inspected the site on November 26 and collected samples of ticks (insects that feed on dead animals). 

Another set of samples will be sent to National Institute of  Virology, Pune. The reports are expected by the weekend.

If the reports confirm monkey fever, forest personnel will be vaccinated.

About the disease

Kyasanur forest disease is a viral disease, which was first reported in Kyasanur forest of Shimoga district in 1957.

The disease is mainly confined to Sagar and Tirthahalli taluks of Shimoga district, and occasionally reported in Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Chikmagalur and Udupi districts.

This is the first time that the symptoms of the disease have been reported in Chamarajanagar district. Monkey fever virus is spread through air or directly through the ticks and is highly contagious.

There are a wide range of natural hosts such as monkeys, rats, shrews, reptiles and cattle, besides ticks.

Humans acquire the infection from bites of infected ticks, which sucks blood.
However, there is no evidence of man to man transmission.

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