Panaji, March 23 (IANS) Two new cases of the lethal Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) have come to light in Dharbandora sub-district of Goa, Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza said on Wednesday.
Both patients have been shifted to a state government-run medical facility and are under observation, he said.
These two cases in the forested eastern parts of Goa indicate the spread of KFD, also known as monkey fever in common parlance, from neighbouring Sattari sub-district.
Seven people have died and over 150 tested positive for KFD in two years in Sattari.
“There are two new cases from Dharbandora, which along with Sattari share contiguous forests in which the monkeys dwell. There have been instances of monkey fever in Dodamarg region of Maharashtra bordering Goa as well,” D’Souza told IANS here.
KFD is caused by a similarly named virus first identified in 1957, when it was isolated from a sick monkey from the Kyasanur forest in Karnataka.
Between 400-500 people across western India have been infected by the rare disease which spreads through ticks, a parasite for which the monkeys are common hosts.
D’Souza, also the state health minister, said his department had begun a vaccination and awareness campaign in the affected areas.
“We have vaccinated around 5,000 people in the area where KFD cases were reported. But the problem is that the vaccination course is spread over five years. People should ensure follow-up doses are also taken,” D’Souza said.