A total of 19 cases of the Kyasanur forest disease (KFD) or monkey fever have been detected in Goa since January this year.
The disease is mostly limited to Valpoi and none of the 19 cases has been found to be critical; no death has been reported during the same period. Out of the total 19, only one case has been reported in Casarvanem in Pernem.
Dr Utkarsh Betodkar, epidemologist at the directorate of health and services (DHS), said that many areas, which were the worst affected last year, have witnessed zero cases during this season. In 2016, 285 people were afflicted
within Goa, three among whom died. In 2017, the number of KFD cases came down to 85 and in 2018 it further plunged to 59 cases with no KFD-related deaths reported last year. Dr Betodkar said that the KFD cases are expected to be lesser this year than the previous year.
He said the KFD cases are on the decline due to intensified awareness among the villagers by conducting programmes on information, education, and communication undertaken by the DHS health workers.
“We have continued vaccination drives and are distributing demethyl phthalate (DMP) tick-repellent oil to the villagers which they have to apply on their bodies before venturing into the forests, especially in cashew plantations,” he said adding that there is a need to take precaution as there is still time for the cashew season to culminate in the state.
He advised the people visiting cashew plantations to walk along clear trails and avoid coming in contact with weeds. He said that resting in cashew plantations may invite tick bites.
He said that it will be safer for people to wear full-sleeve shirts and long pants to avoid being bitten by ticks. Besides, people need to take a scrub bath on their return home to get rid of ticks, he said.