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Temple monkeys diagnosed with dreaded disease (April)

 The dreaded Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as Monkey Disease and Monkey Fever, has been diagnosed among monkeys of the temple compound at Vallikkavu near Chengannur in Kerala's Alappuzha district. The eight-acre temple compound at Vallikkavu is home to more than 200 monkeys. The Kerala Department of Animal Husbandry is considering the matter with extreme seriousness, but it has not given any confirmation on the incidence of the tick-borne disease, which can hit humans, to the temple advisory committee.

 

Health workers said that this was a serious finding as dreaded viral fevers like dengue and chikungunya were already found extensively in Kerala. The disease, said to be endemic to South Asia and affecting 100 to 500 people annually, was found among the monkeys of Vallikkavu after a monkey showing symptoms was examined at the Viral Diagnostic Laboratory in Shimoga, Karnataka. Officials of the departments of Animal Husbandry and Forest held further examinations at the temple compound the other day.

 

The officials of the Animal Husbandry Department had first reached Vallikkavu after the temple advisory committee alerted it following frequent death of monkeys and after spotting symptoms like shivering and diarrhea among many of the monkeys. On Tuesday, officials of the Animal Husbandry Department took a monkey showing symptoms to the Chief Disease Investigation Office at Palode in Thiruvananthapuram. The monkey would be taken to the Shimoga lab after preliminary examinations. KFD is a hemorrhagic fever caused by a virus belonging to family Flaviviridae which also causes yellow fever and dengue. Porcupines, rats, squirrels and mice are thought to be reservoir hosts for the disease for which the vector is a forest tick. Humans can contract infection if bitten by the nymph of the tick.

 

Pioneer, Delhi, Thursday 24th April 2014