The zoonotic disease (diseas- es transmitted from animals to humans are referred to as zoonotic), which is spread- ing fast in Karnataka, has sparked fears among people living in Tamil Nadu villages sharing their border with the neighbouring state.
Though there has been no confirmed case of monkey fever in TN so far, the health department as precautionary measure has begun a vacci- nation drive among tribals in The Nilgiris.
Health department offi- cials feel that there was a high probability of Monkey fever, reported in Karnataka, spreading to other areas due to migration of monkeys from that state to Tamil Nadu. Tribals have been asked not to go nearcarcass of monkeys, especiallywhen they step into forests.
The fever spreads from monkeys to humans by the bite of an infected tick and through contact with a sick or dead monkey. An intensive vaccination drive is underway in atleast in a dozen tribal hamlets and villages in The Nilgiris, Mudumalai and Masinagu- di localities located close to Karnataka. The health department is also administering vaccine to forest department staff, especially those involved in special anti-naxal operations.
S Porkodi, Deputy Direc- tor of Public Health Services, Nilgiris said that tribals and people living in several villages sharing borders with Kar- nataka and Kerala have been vacci- nated by various teams of PHC staff.
“In 2016-2017, about 10,000 people were vaccinated and in 2017-2018, about 5,000 vaccines have been procured through the state government. Sustained efforts are on to monitor the people and to take all preven- tive measures,” she said.
In the last three years, the forest department staff and cops involved in Maoists operations in jungles located in state borders were vaccinated for the disease.
It is to be noted that the poultry units in Namakkal are already in a fear stricken mood, following re- ports of bird flu cases in Karnataka. Officials have been on their toes inspecting the poul- try units to prevent its spread in Tamil Nadu.